Current and Possible Threats

 

The Chilean Woodstar (Eulidia yarellii) is currently classified as critically endangered according to the UICN and BirdLife International. This classification is based on its small range of distribution and population decline. The Chilean Woodstar can be found in the north of Chile, in the Lluta, Vitor, Camarones and Azapa Valleys. Since 2007, its population has hastily declined. Cristian Estades and his team have been studying and monitoring the Woodstar annually since 2003. That year, their estimate of the population was 1539. In 2007, they estimated there were 1256 of the species, in 2009 it was estimated at 377. Since 2010, the annual estimate has been between 400 and 500 individuals. These species have almost completely disappeared from the Azapa and Lluta Valleys. Two non-exclusive hypotheses have been proposed to explain the decrease in numbers of the Chilean Woodstar as described below.

Threat 1
Loss and degradation of habitat by agricultural activities

The total population affected by agricultural activity is at almost 100% , a factor that dominates the decline of the population of the Chilean Woodstar. Several areas where there were territories of the Chilean Woodstar, such as Azapa Valley, were cut or burned in order to transform them into areas for tomato crops, nurseries or were just simply covered with waste. In addition to this there was the non-regulation or standardization of the use and extensions of the anti-aphid meshes, causing a drastic lost of its habitat. Considering the high tenacity of the site of these species, individuals do not seem to respond adequately to the deterioration of their habitat. Thus, when environmental conditions decline, the Chilean Woodstar remains in the affected area until the last moment.

Threat 2
Deficiencies in the use and management of pesticides

Deficiencies in the use and handling of pesticides in different economic activities that take place in the Azapa Valley. The population of the Chilean Woodstar that has been affected stands at almost 100%. To understand the current status of this species, the greatest impact is observed in the Azapa Valley where there is a clear example of the bad practices that have been carried out in agriculture in an irresponsible manner and without the appropriate knowledge of the application of pesticides which should be friendly to the environment. This is a major problem on which there is only anecdotal information such as records of dead Chilean Woodstar after the application of pesticides.