THE Zoological Society (ZSTT) has welcomed the recent designation of the capybara as a vermin under the Conservation of Wildlife Act.
The society’s president Gupte Lutchmedial, in a press release issued yesterday, said such a designation was one of the recommendations he supported during discussions at the Wildlife Conservation Committee of which he is a member, for the consideration of Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat.
The ZSTT, Lutchmedial said, supported this designation on evidence based on over seven years of surveillance done on the distribution and activities of the capybara in the country based on complaints from farmers of crop destruction. The ZSTT was able to verify that farmers were experiencing losses from the capybara where the animals are present.
This designation as vermin allows control of the animal only on private lands where farmers are being affected but protection on all other lands so that there is balance in accordance with Section 11 of the Conservation of Wildlife Act.
According to Wikipedia, the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is a mammal native to South America. It is the largest living rodent in the world. Its close relatives include guinea pigs and rock cavies, and it is more distantly related to the agouti, the chinchilla, and the coypu.
The capybara inhabits savannas and dense forests and lives near bodies of water. It is a highly social species and can be found in groups as large as 100 individuals, but usually lives in groups of 10–20 individuals.