Chinchilla lanigera 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Chinchillidae

Scientific Name: Chinchilla lanigera
Species Authority: (Molina, 1782)
Common Name(s):
English Long-tailed Chinchilla, Chinchilla
French Chinchilla À Longue Queue
Spanish Chinchilla Costina, Chinchilla De Cola Larga

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2ac ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): D'elia, G. & Teta, P.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Critically Endangered because of a drastic past and ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 90% over the past 3 generations (15 years). This species has been reduced to a fraction of the original distribution and is under continuing pressures due to illegal hunting and reduction of habitat quality.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs from northern Chile along the foothills of the Andes and coastal mountains south to Talca (Woods and Kilpatrick 2005). It has been suggested that its range extends into Argentina and Salta province (Chebez 1994), but this is to be confirmed.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):400
Upper elevation limit (metres):1650
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species was once widespread, but in 1996 only 42 discrete colonies could be found in the wild; the number of these colonies and the general population size have been declining over time (Jimenez, 1996).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occurs in barren, arid, and rugged areas of the mountain chains connecting the coastal mountain ranges and the Andes (Spotorno et al. 2004). Typical habitat is rocky or sandy with a sparse cover of thorn shrubs, few herbs and forbs, scattered cacti, and patches of succulent bromeliads toward the coast (Spotorno et al. 2004).

Sexual maturity in both sexes occurs on average at 8 months, but may occur as early as 5.5 months (George and Weir 1974). Females have a first litter at a mean age of 459 days, gestation lasts 111 days and there is an interbirth interval of 214 days (Neira et al. 1989). Litters have 1-6 pups (mean of 1.75) (Spotorno et al, 2004).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has been threatened for years by human activities, including poaching, hunting, grazing by cattle and goats, mining, and firewood extraction. Despite current protection measures, populations are continuing to decline (Jimenez 1996). Current hypotheses to explain this decline, as summarized by Jimenez (1996), include:
(1) current numbers are lower than the minimum viable population size for long-term survival;
(2) predation by foxes upon chinchillas has increased during the past decades;
(3) the later decline is caused by long-term abiotic and/or biotic changes; and
(4) the trend might represent the decreasing phase of a long-term natural cycle of chinchilla populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Legislation to protect the species has been in place since 1929, but was not efficiently enforced until the establishment of the Reserva Nacional Las Chinchillas in Auco, Chile in 1983 (Jimenez 1996). This species has been included in CITES Appendix I since 1977.

Citation: D'elia, G. & Teta, P. 2008. Chinchilla lanigera. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T4652A11062934. . Downloaded on 24 August 2016.
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