Geocapromys brownii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Capromyidae

Scientific Name: Geocapromys brownii (J. Fischer, 1830)
Common Name(s):
English Brown's Hutia, Indian Coney, Jamaican Hutia

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2018
Date Assessed: 2017-02-03
Assessor(s): Kennerley, R., Turvey, S.T. & Young, R.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
This species is assessed as Endangered because its known extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 2,960 km², its range is severely fragmented, and its apparent disappearance from the Cockpit Country in recent decades suggests that there is a continuing decline in EOO, number of locations, and the extent of occurrence and the quality of the habitat. However, there is a need for standardised surveys to assess the status of this species.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Jamaica (Woods and Kilpatrick 2005). Its range is severely fragmented and it has apparently disappeared from Cockpit Country, meaning that it is currently known from the three unconnected localities of the Hellshire Hills, John Crow Mountains, and Worthy Park.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is patchily distributed across southeastern Jamaica, in the Hellshire Hills along the xeric south coast, the red hills of central St. Catherine's Parish, and the Blue and John Crow Mountains. It became extirpated from the Cockpit Country of western Jamaica in recent decades, because in the early 1980s although the species were known to still be extant it was considered to have either a sparse distribution or be at low densities (Oliver, 1982). There has been no evidence of the species in Cockpit Country in the last 15+ years, despite a regular presence of environmental researchers across the area (S. Koenig pers. comm. 2015). In the Hellshire Hills the species is considered to be common, even in degraded areas (B.Wilson, pers. comm. 2015). In the Rio Grande Valley within the Blue and John Crow Mountains locals have reported an increase in the population there since 2012, demonstrated by an increase in incidences of crop damage, eating root crops and tree roots (S. Otuokon pers. comm. 2015), though this may be due to reductions in suitable habitat available for the species and consequently higher chances them coming in to contact with people and agricultural areas. 

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This hutia is now restricted to remote karstic areas, hills and mountainous regions, where there is an abundance of natural crevices and tunnels. It is almost exclusively nocturnal, emerging at night to forage over a wide area on exposed roots, bark, shoots, fruits, and foliage of a large variety of plant species. This species lives in social family groups of two to six individuals. Smaller families, pairs, and single individuals apparently inhabit smaller or more accessible holes. Little is known of reproduction in the wild. In captivity, this species bears one or two, rarely three, young at a time. Triplets have been recorded in only 3 of 47 parturitions. The gestation period is approximately 123 days with an average interbirth interval of 168 days (n = 27). The earliest primiparous birth recorded was at the age of one year. In captivity, breeding has occurred throughout the year (Anderson et al. 1983). There are reports of damage caused to root crops and roots of tree species in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (S. Koenig, pers. comm. 2015), and in the Rio Grande Valley (S. Otuokon, pers. comm. 2015).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted, presumably for subsistence food use. It is not known if the species is traded.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Ongoing human-induced habitat loss and degradation, as well as hunting continue to be major threats to this species (Clough 1976). Population modelling showed the species to be vulnerable to over-hunting, and in some areas where hunting was reduced, such as in the subpopulations in Coco Ree and Worthy Park, there were signs of the population expanding (Mittermeier 1972, Wilkins 2001). Predation by introduced dogs, cats and mongoose may pose threats to the species (Clough 1976).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in a number of protected areas, however little enforcement is in place and refuges do not prevent threats such as introduced mongoose. Although hutias have been brought into captivity at Hope Zoo, Kingston, there currently are no ongoing in situ conservation measures in place for the species. There is a clear need for standardised surveys across remaining areas where it is thought to occur.

Citation: Kennerley, R., Turvey, S.T. & Young, R. 2018. Geocapromys brownii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T9001A22186569. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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