The Huemul, Hippocamelus bisulcus, is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Once more widespread across the southern Andes and Patagonia, this deer now has a much more restricted range within southern Argentina and Chile.
The Huemul’s decline has been attributed to a range of factors, including overhunting, overstocking of its habitat with domestic livestock, land conversion to Habitat Loss, and, more locally, threats such as construction, logging, poaching and disease. Suitable winter habitat has been almost entirely eliminated, and illegal hunting continues in many areas. The remaining subpopulations are small and fragmented, and the species may now total fewer than 1,500 individuals.
Although now fully protected in Chile and Argentina, most of the Huemul population occurs outside of protected areas, and laws are often poorly enforced, even within reserves. Adequate management plans for the species have also yet to be realized and implemented. Urgent conservation measures include raising awareness of its plight, promoting the creation of private protected areas, removing livestock in national parks, and captive breeding.