Giant rodents cause trouble for the wealthy in Argentina

Nordelta is a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was built in 2000 by a river delta and is a fenced residential area, a so-called “gated community”, for the well-to-do who want to live in peace and quiet.

But lately the peace has been increasingly disturbed by capybaras, also known as water pigs, which are the largest rodents in the world.

The number is increasing

The increasingly confident herbivores are now seen roaming the streets and gardens of the upscale neighborhood. And the number keeps growing. They eat gardens, plants and even smaller trees, and they even attacked a dog.

Gustavo Iglesias, one of the inhabitants of Nordelta, describes how the relationship with animals has gone from pleasant and picturesque to boring and embarrassing. He can leave his house and find 25 water pigs on the plot.

“And I’m not exaggerating, because I counted them,” he said.

Wetlands have disappeared

According to Sebastian Di Martino of the nature organization The Rewilding Argentina Foundation, rodents have been hunted in the residential area since their natural habitat, the wetlands, dwindled to the surface.

A year ago, a fire destroyed more than 300,000 hectares of wetlands in a nearby river delta. At the same time, urbanization has also spread to other wetlands.

Sebastian Di Martino describes it as a failing ecosystem, where many animal species have disappeared while some remain.

– Among those who have disappeared are large predators that previously kept the water pig population at a certain level, he says.

Winston Ferguson

"Total travelaholic. Subtly charming zombie geek. Friend of animals everywhere. Music buff. Explorer. Tv junkie."

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