Environment

Threatened Mammals of Paraguay

A closer look at some of the threatened species of mammals found within Paraguay.

Paraguay is a landlocked South American Nation which is surrounded by Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina. The country lies on the Banks of River Paraguay which runs through the middle of Paraguay from the south to the north. Paraguay is one of the most beautiful South American countries with over 44 million acres of tropical forest which hosts over one hundred and 55 mammal species. Some of these species are near extinction, and therefore they are considered to be threatened.

5 Threatened mammals in Paraguay

1) Giant Otter

Known as the Giant otter or Giant river otter, the Pteronura brasiliensis is one of the largest members of the otter family. The carnivorous mammal can reach up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft). It is the noisiest and most aquatic of the otter species. The giant otter is social, living in groups of 3 to 8 members, but is territorial and can become aggressive. Giant otters have no natural predators other than humans, and were once widespread in freshwater rivers and streams throughout north-central South America. However, poaching in the 1950s and 1960s for the giant otter's pelt greatly reduced their numbers. Continued habitat loss has sustained a population below 5,000 and the giant otter is one of the most endangered mammal species in the neotropics.

2) Chacoan Peccary

The Chacoan peccary (Catagonus wagneri), known locally as the tagua, was thought to be extinct until 1971. The chacoan peccary is the largest of the peccary family, which shows some resemblance to pigs. They travel in herds as large as 20 members, and the herd travels together throughout their home range. It is found only within 140,000 km2 of the Gran Chaco, a hot and semi-arid lowland region in parts of Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina. The population of the Chacoan peccary sits at about 3,000, and is considered endangered due it it's small habitat and low numbers.

3) Marsh Deer

The scientific name of the Marsh deer, Blastocerus dichotomus, is named for its forked antlers. Male marsh deers can grow antlers up to 23 inches in length. It is the largest species of deer from South America reaching a height of 3.9 ft at the shoulder and 6.6 ft in length. Originally found throughout much of tropical and subtropical South America, today it is found only in isolated populations in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, near river basins, marshes, and lagoons. The Marsh deer is listed as vulnerable due to its low population and ongoing dangers such as poaching and habitat loss.

4) Southern Long-nosed Armadillo

The Southern long-nosed armadillos are indigenous to Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. They have a 12 inch body and head length plus a 6.7 inch long tail. The Southern long-nosed armadillos weigh about 4.4 pounds. The upper parts of their body are covered with a dark grayish carapace which has numerous bony scales. The middle part of the carapace has six to eight movable bands. The scales on the bands have a rectangular shape. Their hind feet have five toes with curved claws while the front ones have four toes. The Southern long-nosed armadillos thrive in undisturbed habitats. They are considered near-threatened since their population has declined over the past 12 years due to excessive hunting and severe habitat loss.

5) Giant Anteater

The Giant Anteater is an insectivorous mammal which is indigenous to South and Central America. All the anteaters and sloths are classified under the order Pilosa, but unlike the other living anteaters, the Giant Anteater is mostly terrestrial species and not arboreal. It is the largest in its family with a maximum length of 7.12 feet and weight of up to 90 pounds for males and 86 pounds for females. They have colored pelages, long fore-claws, bushy tails and elongated snouts. The giant anteaters can be found in different habitats including rainforest and grassland. Giant anteaters feeds mainly on termites and ants. They are listed as near-threatened and extirpated from some of their previous habitats including most of Central America.

Why Are These Animals Threatened?

Most of these mammals were once thriving in their original habitats in Paraguay. Over time their numbers reduced, and in most cases, they became locally extinct in their typical habitats. The destruction of their habitats has forced some of them to migrate while leaving others exposed to predators. Excessive poaching either for meat or pet trade has also contributed to the reduction of their population.

Threatened Mammals of Paraguay

Rank´╗┐Threatened Mammals of ParaguayScientific NameClassification
1Giant otterPteronura brasiliensisEndangered
2Chacoan peccaryCatagonus wagneriEndangered
3Giant armadilloPriodontes maximusVulnerable
4Azara's agoutiDasyprocta azaraeVulnerable
5Red myotisMyotis ruberVulnerable
6Bush dogSpeothos venaticusVulnerable
7Brazilian tapirTapirus terrestrisVulnerable
8Marsh deerBlastocerus dichotomusVulnerable
9Southern red-sided opossumMonodelphis sorexVulnerable
10Southern long-nosed armadilloDasypus hybridusNear Threatened
11Greater fairy armadilloCalyptophractus retususNear Threatened
12Chacoan naked-tailed armadilloCabassous chacoensisNear Threatened
13Southern three-banded armadillo Tolypeutes matacusNear Threatened
14Giant anteaterMyrmecophaga tridactylaNear Threatened
15ColocoloLeopardus colocolo Near Threatened
16Geoffroy's catLeopardus geoffroyiNear Threatened
17OncillaLeopardus tigrinusNear Threatened
18CougarPuma concolor Near Threatened
19JaguarPanthera oncaNear Threatened
20Maned wolfChrysocyon brachyurusNear Threatened
21White-lipped peccaryTayassu pecari Near Threatened
22Pampas deerOzotoceros bezoarticusNear Threatened

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