The sustainable management of capybaras
Moreira JR., Verdade LM., Ferraz KMPMB., Macdonald DW.
© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. All rights are reserved. The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) has always been an important item in the diet of South American natives and subject to intensive hunting in Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina since the nineteenth century. Commercial exploitation began in early twentieth century, especially in the Llanos of Venezuela (Fig. 17.1). Studies of the capybara across its range have shown differences in population structure and dynamics that vary principally according to the type of habitat occupied and also depend on the seasonality of environmental resources (Ojasti 1973; Aldana-Domínguez et al. 2002). Understanding factors that influence or change aspects of population structure and dynamics is crucial for defining appropriate strategies for sustainable exploitation and conservation of a species. In this chapter, we look at inferences made by modeling capybara harvest on the effect on the sustainability of the population. We also present what is known about the effects of capybara harvest on populations and the productive potential of the species in the neotropical region.