Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 2033–2047 | Cite as

Parasites and Conservation Biology: The ‘Ibex-Ecosystem’

  • Jesús M. Pérez
  • Pier G. Meneguz
  • Andrea Dematteis
  • Luca Rossi
  • Emmanuel Serrano


Parasites, as organisms with a particular way of life, form an important part of biodiversity, not only regarding the number of known species, but also because of their relevant role within ecological processes. These two facts should justify conservation of parasites, at least within natural and protected areas. Little is known about such complex communities of parasites but they are often considered as pests, even out of the fields of public (human) health and animal production, that is, just in the natural environment or under natural conditions. It is increasingly assumed that wildlife diseases, including those produced by parasites, are one of the main bases for managing animal populations. Parasitic diseases may also be managed and, at this point, we can find multiple technical problems which, in certain occasions, lead into philosophical questions or true dilemmas. These considerations are illustrated by revising parasites of the Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica), an Iberian mountain ungulate the parasitofauna of which is relatively well known. As a big game species, its trophies become more and more appreciated. Therefore, human dimensions involved in management of its populations are considerably increased. Finally, reasons and opportunities for managing parasitic diseases affecting ibex are revised and discussed, under a global goal or perspective of conserving parasites within natural areas, particularly those that are protected.


Biodiversity Capra pyrenaica Conservation Disease management Parasites Protected areas Wildlife diseases 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesús M. Pérez
    • 1
  • Pier G. Meneguz
    • 2
  • Andrea Dematteis
    • 3
  • Luca Rossi
    • 2
  • Emmanuel Serrano
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y EcologíaUniversidad de JaénJaénSpain
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Produzioni Animali, Epidemiologia ed EcologiaUniversità degli Studi di TorinoGrugliascoItaly
  3. 3.Centro Richerche sulla Gestione della Fauna SelvaticaSampeyreItaly

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