New research project on the situation of the Egyptian mongoose in Castilla - La Mancha

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    A new research project, led by researchers from IREC and IESA, studies the situation of the Egyptian mongoose populations in Castilla-La Mancha, its ecologic relationships and the perception of the species by certain stakeholders. The project is funded by Castilla-La Mancha regional government and FEDER funds.

    The Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) is a medium-size carnivore of African origin, whose distribution in Europe is restricted to the southwestern quarter of the Iberian Peninsula. The lack of fossil records led to think for longtime that its arrival to Europe was the result of human introductions in historical times. However, recent genetic studies support that it reached naturally the Iberian Peninsula in prehistoric times. The species distribution has expanded northwards and eastwards from the southwestern Iberian quadrant in the last decades. Nevertheless, Castilla-La Mancha is the only Iberian region where no studies on its expansion have been carried out. The hunting sector is claiming in the last years for the control of mongoose populations to be authorized, based on their perceived damage to small-game species, according to the sector. This research project aims to generate scientific knowledge on the situation of the Egyptian mongoose populations in Castilla-La Mancha, its hypothetical geographic and numeric expansion, the impact on some game species and the perceptions from different social groups. Several methodologies will be employed, including: questionnaires to different stakeholders, field surveys, models of distribution and spread, live capture, marking and radio-tracking of mongooses, density estimates of mongooses and their prey, scat analyses and estimates of predation impact. The final aim of the project is to provide the regional administration with a scientific basis, which allows making compatible the preservation of mongoose populations with the socioeconomic activities of the region. The research team of the Project is integrated by ecologists and sociologists from the Institute for Game and Wildlife Research (IREC) and the Institute for Advanced Social Studies (IESA) of CSIC, INIA and Málaga University.

    Egyptian mongoose

    Reference: "El meloncillo en Castilla-La Mancha: distribución, abundancia, tendencias poblacionales, efectos sobre sus presas y percepción social (MELOCAM)” Ref: SBPLY/17/180501/000184. 2018-2021. Funded by: Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Principal investigators: Pablo Ferreras (IREC-CSIC) and Miguel Delibes-Mateos (IESA-CSIC). Contact: pablo.ferreras@uclm.es