Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Caviidae

Scientific Name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Capybara
Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris (Linnaeus, 1766)
Sus hydrochaeris Linnaeus, 1766
Taxonomic Notes: Also known as Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris and Hydrochoeris hydrochaeris.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-03-01
Assessor(s): Reid, F.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Vieira, E. & Queirolo, D.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a broad distribution that spans east of the Andes in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, the Guyanas, all of Brazil, eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and northwestern and eastern Argentina (Lacher 2016).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Ecuador; Guyana; Paraguay; Peru; Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is locally common and widespread, but uncommon or rare in populated areas of the Amazon (Emmons and Feer 1999). Populations in the rainforest are small and narrowly restricted to open watersides (Emmons and Feer 1999). Home range size is dependent upon the quality of habitat, and can vary from 10 ha in resource rich areas to over 200 ha in more resource poor areas. In the Brazilian Pantanal, densities can reach 15 animals per hectare (Lacher 2016). In some areas of Bolivia the species are abundant however in the central distribution their numbers are declining (an estimation of 0.4 to 0.59 ind./km) with small groups of one to seven maximum individuals (Guizada-Duran and Aliaga-Rossel 2014).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species occurs only in habitat close to water including marshes, estuaries, and along rivers and streams (Eisenberg and Redford 1999). Depending on habitat and hunting pressure, they are found singly or socially. They are diurnal or nocturnal depending on hunting pressure and the season (Eisenberg and Redford 1999). In Venezuela and the Brazilian Pantanal, the species breeds throughout the year, usually with a single breeding cycle. Gestation lasts up to 120 days after which an average of 3.5 young are born (range, one to seven), the peak birth period is during February in the Brazilian Pantanal (Eisenberg and Redford 1999). They live in large groups of extended family members, with group size varying from 2 to 30 individuals with one dominant breeding male. The mating system is one of resource defence polygyny, where males defend access to foraging resources associated with bodies of water (Lacher 2016).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Capybara is hunted for its leather.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary threat is hunting for meat and leather, but there are a number of captive populations that have reduced demand; however some local populations have been extirpated (Eisenberg and Redford 1999). Capybara leather is valued in South America and from 1976 to 1979 almost 80,000 skins were exported from Argentina (Eisenberg and Redford 1999). There is a large internal market for the skins. In Peru and Bolivia some Capybaras are hunted and used for bait (Guizada-Duran and Aliaga-Rossel 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in many protected areas throughout its range.

Citation: Reid, F. 2016. Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T10300A22190005. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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