Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Caviidae

Scientific Name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Species Authority: (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: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Queirolo, D., Vieira, E. & Reid, F.
Reviewer(s): McKnight, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team) & Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority)
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 is wide ranging from Colombia and Venezuela into northern Argentina (Eisenberg and Redford 1999).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guyana; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; 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). In the Brazilian Pantanal, densities reached a maximum of 12.5 animals per hectare (Eisenberg and Redford 1999).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
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).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is severely threatened by hunting; 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.

Conservation Actions [top]

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

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Wearing apparel, accessories
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Unknown
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Eisenberg, J.F. and Redford, K.H. 1999. Mammals of the Neotropics. The Central Neotropics. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Emmons, L.H. and Feer, F. 1997. Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide, Second edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, USA.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Citation: Queirolo, D., Vieira, E. & Reid, F. 2008. Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T10300A3191404. . Downloaded on 31 August 2016.
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