Creating a Huemul Rescue Center in Cerro Castillo National Park

This initiative, which employs a new, multi-sector approach, aims to use collaborative action to support the wellbeing and recovery of the highly endangered huemul deer. It aims to boost the conservation of this rare species which is facing serious illnesses transmitted by livestock.

Foto: Marcelo Mascareño

State of huemul conservation

An estimated 1,500 huemules live in Chile and Argentina, roughly 1% of the species’ historic population. The prevalence of small and fragmented populations makes this highly endangered species especially vulnerable. The huemul is also threatened by poaching, domestic dog attacks, the presence of exotic species (such as deer and wild boar), and domestic livestock that can transmit infectious diseases.

Infectious diseases are the principal challenge that has propelled the urgent creation of the rescue center. According to existing data, between 30-50% of Huemules in the area of Cerro Castillo have been diagnosed with similar symptoms to CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis), a bacterial disease transmitted by livestock. Although infections are already being treated, creating a restricted area for treatment and rehabilitation of individual huemuls that allows the treatment and management of the disease is crucial.

Foto: Marcelo Mascareño

About the center

The center will be built in Las Horquetas, on the property of Rewilding Chile, by the end of 2021. The center will have dedicated areas for rehabilitation and nursing the most critical individual deer.

The center will be run by a professional team consisting of park rangers with experience capturing and transporting huemul deer, and a group of veterinarians who will be in charge of treatments and rehabilitation.