Argentina is a federal presidential republic located in the southern parts of South America. Buenos Aires is the capital as well as the largest city in the country. The country has a mainland surface area of 1,073,518 square miles and shares borders with Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Uruguay. Due to the large surface area, the country has a very diverse collection of flora and fauna. There are 9,372 species of cataloged vascular plants, 1,038 cataloged bird species and 162 cataloged amphibians. In this article, we will discuss some of the critically endangered mammals in the country.
Critically Endangered Mammals Of Argentina
The Short-tailed chinchilla is a small rodent weighing 45 ounces and measuring 10-15 inches. The hind legs are longer and stronger as compared to the front ones and has a dense fur adapted to extreme cold areas. They usually bury under rocks for shelter. Chinchillas are herbivores and mainly feed on vegetation. The chinchilla’s fur is highly sought after, and therefore chinchillas have been domesticated for the fur. Commercialization of the rodent is the leading threat to its existence. In 1910, a treaty involving Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina was passed banning the hunting of the chinchillas. However, the effort was counterproductive since the ban increased the appetite for the animal, raising its price.
The Roigs Tuco-Tuco This is a highly endemic species in the family of Ctenomyidae. It is only found in a small region near the Parana River. The rodent lives in sand dunes near rivers and other water bodies. The main threat to roigs tuco-tuco is the clearance of habitats for agricultural and industrial use.
The social tuco-tuco derives its name from its social behavior. The behavior is seen in the female tendency to stay near the birthplace and adults sharing burrows. The males also share burrows. The rodent also practice all parenting, in which individuals which are not parents take the parenting role. The social tuco-tucos are inhabit subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland.
Golden Vizcacha rat
The Golden Vizcacha rat is a relatively large rodent that grows to a maximum length of seven inches and has a huge tail of about six inches. As the name suggests, the body is golden in color with the under parts being white. It is a herbivorous rodent inhabiting area with small shrubs and sandy areas with high salt levels. The IUCN has ranked the rodent as highly endangered as its population is on a rapid downward trend.
Chalchalero Vizcacha rat
The Chalchalero Vizcacha rat is a medium-sized rodent measuring around six inches in length. The tail is fairly long measuring 4.5 inches and covered with fur up to the tip where there is a black tassel. The fur is dark brownish black with whitish underbody. The fur is long measuring up to 0.8 inches long. The rodent is critically endangered and is endemic to an area of less than five square miles. It inhabits in areas with saline shrubs, and its population is decreasing.
Threats and conservation efforts
The greatest threats to the mammals of Argentina is the hunting and destruction of their environment. The Short-tailed chinchilla is no longer excessively hunted in the world since reproduction in captivity has proved successful.The Golden Vizcacha rat is found in a protected area of about 39 square miles. However, the area is still being converted into an agricultural land.