Conservation of Guiña

Conservation of Guiña

Project Animal(s) : Guiña (Leopardus guigna)
Project Category : Mammals
Project Region : South America
Project Type : Conservation
Project URL :
Project is timebound? : No

The guiña (or huiña) is the smallest felid in the American continent and one of the smallest in the world (1.5-3.0 kg). Current threats for the guiña include habitat loss and fragmentation mainly due to logging, agricultural and livestock activities and habitat conversion to pine plantations and direct persecution by humans. Due to its restricted distribution and ecological requirements, the guiña is especially vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation. Logging and deforestation most probably led to population fragmentation in the northern part of its range and also in the southern part these threats are a problem in the remnant temperate Valdivian rainforest.

The guiña is included in Appendix II of CITES and fully protected in Argentina and Chile.The perception of people plays an important part in the conservation of the guiña. Long-term conservation challenges for the guiña outside protected areas will depend on the increase of local awareness to reduce conflict in areas where they are considered poultry pests, improving chicken coops and highlighting the services provided by its role as controller of mice – carriers of Hanta virus – and exotic European hares (Lepus europaeus).

Another important challenge is preserving native vegetation corridors to provide connectivity between forest fragments or larger forested areas. Human populations and deforestation are increasing in the Chilean temperate rainforest and climate change may be an emerging additional threat. Also the conservation of guiñas in private lands outside protected areas has gained special relevance for the long-term persistence of its populations. A positive attitude of land owners towards guiñas is required.

A future challenge would be to elucidate the potential pathological effect and emerging disease risk both FIV and FeLV infections may have for guiña populations.

More information about the ecological requirements, demographics, natural history, threats and the status of the guiña is needed, along with continuous population monitoring to enable accurate long-term conservation measures.

Project Agency : Cat Specialist Group

Project Agency Contact :