Chinchilla chinchilla 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Chinchillidae

Scientific Name: Chinchilla chinchilla (Lichtenstein, 1829)
Common Name(s):
English Short-tailed Chinchilla
French Chinchilla à queue courte
Spanish Chinchilla de Cola Corta
Chinchilla brevicauda Waterhouse, 1848
Chinchilla brevicaudata Waterhouse, 1848
Taxonomic Notes: This species was previously referred to as Chinchilla brevicaudata, but is now recognized as Chinchilla chinchilla (Woods and Kilpatrick 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(i,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-03-01
Assessor(s): Roach, N. & Kennerley, R.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Ojeda, R. & D'elia, G.
Listed as Endangered because the species is known from only two regions and the area of occupancy is probably < 500 km2.  This species is suspected to be recovering in some areas as the successful domestic cultivation of the species has helped reduce illegal hunting and trapping in the wild. However, mining represents a large threat to the species habitat and this species remains Endangered until there is evidence of a true recovery trend and further information becomes available about existing populations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The historic distribution of this species extended throughout the Andes of Bolivia, Peru, northwest Argentina, and Chile. Relict populations remain in the northwestern Argentinian provinces of Catamarca, Jujuy, and Salta. M.M. Diaz and Barquez (2007) recorded specimens in the highlands of Juyjuy province but failed to find any extant populations in 5 years of searching. The species was rediscovered in the highlands of Antofagasta (Patton et al. 2015, Valladares et al. 2014). Alvaro et al. 2014 suggested that a population in Bolivia is highly probable (although there have been no verifiable accounts of the species) estimating a projected increase in population between 0.7-1 associated with the national reserve of Andean fauna Eduardo Avaroa and on the border with Chile. Individuals have been found at 3,400 m in Parque Nacional Llullaillaco (Tirado et al. 2012). Valladares et al. 2012 recorded new records (~ 12) of C. Chinchilla from the Atacama region. In Chile, the localities are El Laco, Morro Negro, Volcan Llullaillaco in the Antofagasta Region (Spotorno et al. 2004). C. chinchilla was recently recorded in pellets from Bubo magellanicus in the province of Salta (Ortiz et al 2010; Fig. 1.). Camera trapping efforts from 2011 registered a C. chinchilla colony at Parque Nacional Nevado Tres Cruces, a second colony was detected further north in Santa Rosa, the northern area of the park. The species appears to be more common than originally thought (Augustin Iriate Walton pers. comm.).
Countries occurrence:
Regionally extinct:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:500Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:513427.3
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:5
Lower elevation limit (metres):3000
Upper elevation limit (metres):6000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Little is known about the population of this species. In Bolivia, the species was thought to be extinct. However, there may be populations persisting on the border with Chile, in an isolated region with low human population. Relictual populations remain in the northwestern Argentinian provinces of Catamarca, Jujuy, and Salta M.M. Diaz and Barquez (2007) recorded specimens have been found in highlands of Juyjuy province but failed to find any extant populations in 5 years of searching (Spotorno and Patton 2015). Small populations and large fragmentation suggest low genetic diversity and large level inbreeding, diminishing all biological adaptation and therefore increasing the risk of extinction (Valladares et al. 2012). In Chile, it is listed as Extinct in Region I, and Critically Endangered in Regions II and III. Two small populations exist in Antofagasta and Atacama (Valladares et al. 2014 and Amy Deane pers. comm).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species lives in burrows or rocky crevices usually in arid areas, and are strictly nocturnal. It is a colonial species and feeds on vegetation.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species was hunted extensively in the past, almost to extinction. Mining, agriculture and grazing, removing wild specimens for fur farming, and lack of habitat and education are main threats to the species (Amy Deane pers. comm).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are reports of the species' existence in Bolivia from the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve for Andean Fauna (N. Bernal pers. comm.). This species has been included in CITES Appendix I since 1975 as Chinchilla brevicaudata and since 1977 as Chinchilla chinchilla.

In the national hatchery Criadero Nacional de chinchillas de Lampa, Perù, individuals are being bred for conservation purposes.

Citation: Roach, N. & Kennerley, R. 2016. Chinchilla chinchilla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T4651A22191157. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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