The role of the artificial ponds for the conservation of mammals in the state of Santa Catarina
Man has profoundly modified the upper valley of the Uruguay River and its basin. The plains of these valleys and the lower areas of the hills have been modified for agricultural production, leaving small patches of wild forest on the tops of the hills, where wildlife takes refuge. These less modified sectors generally lack water. Therefore, the wild mammals must descend to the bottom of the valleys to drink. However, there are numerous fence lines between the hills and the rivers and streams which prevent the fauna access to these watercourses, so they ingest water from artificial ponds present in the agricultural establishments instead, which is reflected in the high values of δ18O observed in the bone bioapatite of local wild mammals. This finding highlights the importance of artificial reservoirs distributed in the agricultural landscape of Santa Catarina for the preservation of wildlife and the importance of their sanitary monitoring to prevent the transmission of diseases from livestock to wildlife.
Keywords: artificial ponds, Oxygen-18, Santa Catarina, stable isotopes, wildlife preservation.
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