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The relationship between livestock

and the endangered Hispaniolan

solenodon, Solenodon paradoxus
Lauren Gibson
Earth Systems Program
Grad mentor: Alexis Mychajliw
Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Hadly
Joel Sartore

What is the solenodon?

About 1ft long
Lives in Hispaniola

Derbridge et al.,

Low reproduction rate

Derbridge et al., 2015
Joel Sartore

Why conserve the solenodon?


Genetic uniqueness
One of only two
remaining endemics of
Dominican Republic
Venoms medical uses

(formerly Insectivores)

Model Species
Endemics and
Human + wildlife
Climate change



Threatened by:
Habitat fragmentation
Invasive predators


Population size
Exact distribution
Social structures
Genetic diversity
Interactions with nonpredatory invasives



Threatened by:
Habitat fragmentation
Invasive predators



Population size

Exact distribution

Social structures

Genetic diversity

Interactions with nonpredatory invasives

Do solenodons and
livestock interact?


Study Area
Jaragua National Park
IUCN Category II
Open to grazing

Los Tres Charcos

Mosaic human use

Dry forest habitat

Karst limestone
Refuge for endemics

Do solenodons and
livestock interact?


Measuring direct interactions

Four Bushnell TrophyCam camera traps
Rotated through five study sites
Species inventory setup
All four clustered
Two in areas of likely
solenodon activity
Two in random areas

Camera triggers >10min apart were considered

unique datapoints


Direct Interactions (Results)

Direct Interactions (Results)

Direct Interactions (Discussion)

Present in both in and out of protected area
Very little, if any, temporal overlap with solenodons
Little opportunity for direct interaction

Invasive predators
More common outside
protected area
Strong temporal overlap
Many opportunities for direct
interaction likely predation
Potential threat

Do solenodons and
livestock interact?


Measuring indirect interactions

40 9m transects,1x1m quadrats

Measuring indirect interactions

Ecological data collected
% ground cover
Signs of
Evidence of
introduced animal
Livestock poop
Livestock paths
Hoof prints

Each quadrat was divided according to ground cover:

vegetation (purple), rock (grey), soil (gold), and detritus

Indirect Interactions (Results)

Logistic regression
used to predict
foraging presence
Linear regression
used to predict
foraging intensity
All livestock
controlled for
detritus cover

Indirect Interactions (Discussion)

Detritus as a predictor for foraging in JNP and overall
Contains insects and small animals for prey
Insignificance in LTC likely a function of low n-value

Rock cover
Significant in predicting foraging intensity in JNP
Likely due to solenodon burrows in rocks

Cow presence
Significant in predicting foraging intensity in JNP
Cow presence More foraging
Cows could encourage insect activities

Indirect Interactions (Discussion)

Statistically insignificant
More evidence of livestock impact does not mean
less solenodon foraging
Opposite could be true (ex: cows)

Ground cover more of an influence than livestock

No suggestion of threat from livestock
Potential threat from dogs and cats
Research and anecdotal stories
More likely in unprotected areas

Available detritus is key

Conservation Implications
Protected areas
Key for minimizing predators
Less important to keep out livestock

Human ranching livelihoods dont have to conflict
with conservation
Other systems of endemic mammals and invasive
herbivores may follow same structure

Climate change
Solenodons capacity to coexist with invasives
could have helped it survive past disturbances

Conservation Implications
IUCN currently
proposing a
Our suggestion:
Delay downlisting
until further research
More protected areas
Control feral dogs

IUCN Conservation

Future research directions

Genetic diversity

Diet analysis
Derbridge et al., 2015

Alexis Mychajliw
Dr. Elizabeth Hadly
Hadly lab
Gerson Feliz & Grupo
Earth Systems
Volpert Family


Joel Sartore

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