Distribution of the elusive and threatened Brazilian dwarf brocket deer refined by non-invasive genetic sampling and distribution modelling

  • Márcio Leite de OliveiraEmail author
  • Hilton Thadeu Zarate do Couto
  • José Maurício Barbanti Duarte
Original Article


The Brazilian dwarf brocket deer (Mazama nana; Mammalia: Cervidae) is an elusive deer species that occupies the forests of southern Brazil, northern Argentina, and eastern Paraguay. A drastic reduction in forested areas has greatly affected the species, the least studied Neotropical deer. As do many threatened and elusive species, the Brazilian dwarf brocket deer needs a refinement of its distribution that would indicate proper sites to guide its conservation in situ. This project aimed to determine species distribution in order to establish priority areas for conservation. Given the rarity and elusiveness of the species, we proposed indirect methods to achieve this objective. We tracked and collected faecal samples in protected areas spread over southern Brazil with the help of a scat detection dog. Following species identification by PCR/RFLP and sample spatialisation, we modelled the species distribution using MaxEnt software. We found that the potential geographical distribution of the Brazilian dwarf brocket deer in Brazil is spread over the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina, northern and central Rio Grande do Sul, the extreme south of São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul, eastern Paraguay, and the Misiones province in Argentina. The west and centre of Paraná state and part of western Santa Catarina state were identified as high conservation priority areas.


Cytochrome b Faecal DNA Mazama nana Scat detection dog Maximum entropy modelling 



The authors would like to thank Carlos Brocardo, Cíntia Gruener, Alexandre Vogliotti, Hugo Morzele, Paulo Kuester, Edson Abreu Jr., Pedro Volkmer de Castilho, Simone Michelon, Júlia Ferrúa dos Santos, Jorge Cherem, and Gabriela Mette for providing georeferenced records, as well as João Airton Boer for his work in the molecular genetics laboratory. This research was authorised by the following environmental agencies: the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio; SISBio: 32972-4), the Santa Catarina Environmental Foundation (FATMA), the Environmental Institute of Paraná (IAP; 394-12), the State Environmental Secretary of Rio Grande do Sul (12/2012-DUC), the Riograndense Sanitation Company (Corsan), and the Joinvile Municipal Environmental Foundation (FUNDEMA; 10/12-GEMAP).

Funding information

This research was financed by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP; 12/50206-1). M. L. Oliveira received grants from FAPESP (15/25742-5, 12/01095-2) and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

Supplementary material

10344_2019_1258_MOESM1_ESM.docx (168 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 168 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deer Research and Conservation Centre (NUPECCE), School of Agricultural and Veterinary SciencesSão Paulo State UniversitySão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Forest Sciences Department, Luiz de Queiroz College of AgricultureUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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