Sechuran Fox - © Daniel AscensiosRelevant Links
English: Sechura Fox, Peruvian Desert Fox, Sechura Desert Fox
Spanish: Pacha Zorro, Juancito, Perro De Monte De Sechura, Zorra Pampera, Zorro Costeño, Zorro De Sechura
French: Renard De Sechura
The Sechuan Fox has a relatively limited range in the coastal zones of northwestern Peru and southwestern Ecuador. Currently, the population is estimated to number fewer than 15,000 mature individuals, and is thought likely to experience a continuing decline nearing 10% over the coming decade largely as a result of ongoing habitat loss and degradation combined with persecution, and it is here provisionally listed as Near Threatened. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion C1.
Habitat and Ecology:
The Sechuran Fox occupies habitats ranging from sandy deserts with low plant density to agricultural lands and dry forests (Cabrera 1931; Huey 1969; Langguth 1975).
The most important threats to this species are from the market for handicrafts and amulets and from persecution because of damage to livestock. In Peru, the typical attitude towards this species is one of persecution (68.3% of correspondents) or indifference (31.7%). The stated reasons for persecution were due to damage on domestic fowl and guinea pigs (65% of correspondents), the consumption of vegetal or stored goods (13.3%), and the belief of goat predation (10%) (D. Cossíos, unpubl.).
Illegal sale of pups, of amulets made from body parts, and of handicrafts made from fur occurs principally in the markets of Tumbes, Chiclayo, Piura and Lima city. The most common type of handicraft made with fox parts consists of preserved adult animals in a "sitting" position. This activity is limited almost exclusively to the department of Piura, Peru. The practice of magic-religious rituals by shamans involving preserved Sechuran Fox specimens or parts is the principal human use of this species in Peru. The specimens are used to attract "good spirits" or "positive energies" during premonition rituals or to manufacture amulets (called seguros) with different purposes. Some shamans use also the Sechuran Fox's fat for the treatment of bronchial illness and stomach disorders (D. Cossíos, unpubl.).
The Sechuran Fox also faces some pressure in agricultural zones and from urbanization and habitat degradation; indeed, habitat reduction or loss is considered the principle threat to this species in Ecuador (Tirira 2001).