Chinchilla lanigera 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Chinchillidae

Scientific Name: Chinchilla lanigera Bennett, 1829
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: Endangered B2ab(i,ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-10-31
Assessor(s): Roach, N. & Kennerley, R.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Teta, P. & D'elia, G.
Listed as Endangered because this species is known from only two colonies. The population in the Auco reserve is declining, while populations outside the reserve in restored habitats have been increasing. The area of occupancy is approximately 72 km2 , which meets the criteria for Endangered. Population estimates have also show a 36% decline over the past 3 generations (15 years).  This species was previously thought to be extinct in the 1960s but has since been rediscovered. Some habitat continues to decline due to proximity near mining sites.
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, elevations 400 - 1,650 m (Patton and Spotorno 2015). A new colony was reported from a mining company Cerro Blanco in 2012 in Vallenar Atacama. Two known colonies exist; the colony near La Serena is 46 ha. All the other colonies are in Auco- 250 km south of La Serena (Amy Deane pers. comm). The colonies area of occupancy is < 10 km2 (Amy Deane pers. comm.).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:76Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:25493
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:2
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).

Approximately half the population is located inside Reserva Nacional Las Chinchillas in Auco, Chile (Amy Deane pers. comm.). Populations outside the reserve are expanding while populations within the reserve are declining. Based on population estimates there has been a decline of approximately 36% over the past 20 years (Amy Deane pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:5350
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).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has been threatened for years by human activities, including poaching, the pet trade, hunting, grazing by cattle and goats, mining, and firewood extraction. Despite current protection measures, populations are continuing to decline (Jimenez 1996). Major threats include mining near colonies. Predation by foxes and owls has been recorded previously (Jimenez 1996, Amy Deane pers. comm.). Additionally, this species may be threatened by El Niño events (Valladares et al. 2014).

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.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: The authority for the species name has been corrected from "(Molina, 1782)" to "Bennett, 1833"; the use of Molina was an error which had been perpetuated by mistake (for further details see the genus account in Woods and Kilpatrick 2005).

Citation: Roach, N. & Kennerley, R. 2016. Chinchilla lanigera (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T4652A117975205. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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