Financial backing from the Faculty of Sciences of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) enabled the author to visit several Latin American countries and areas of interest to wildlife management during his sabbatical year. The author also had the opportunity to do a field survey in the Pantanal de Mato Grosso in Brazil, and to attend two workshops on wildlife management: in Lima in 1985 and in Piracicaba in 1987, with the support of the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. Likewise, CONICIT (Venezuela) and CONICYT (Argentina) agreed to provide the backing for a visit to wilderness areas and to identify wildlife in the Mesopotamia region of Argentina.
Some of the ideas in this work developed out of discussions with the Wildlife Advisory Commission of the Ministry of the Environment of Venezuela, benefiting from the experience of its members, particularly Gonzalo Medina Padilla and José Luis Méndez Arocha. The kind cooperation of Miguel Angel Perera and Roberto Lizarralde, Professors at the Department of Anthropology and Ethnography of the UCV, made it possible to explore certain links between the indigenous people of the subcontinent and its wildlife. Elizabeth Pérez of the Universidad Simón Rodríguez and Dr Jorge Zegarra of the Faculty of Sciences did much to improve parts of the manuscript, which they reread and corrected. The author also wishes to thank the specialists of the Institute of Tropical Zoology at UCV for their support and discussions, particularly Professors Gerardo A. Cordero and Salvador Boher B. And lastly, I wish to express my gratitude to Mrs Mercedes Aguilar of the Faculty of Sciences for her infinite patience in the processing of this paper.