Buenos aires

Giant rodents annoy Argentina’s upscale neighborhood

Groups of capybara, a giant rodent species from South America, have invaded an upscale suburb of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires.

The increasingly confident animals can be seen roaming the streets and gardens of the Nordelta district.

But resident Gabriel Iglesias said the region’s relations with the capybaras had changed from “friendly” to “complicated”.

Nordelta was built in 2000 in the wetlands of the Lujan River Delta, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Since 2019, residents have reported incidents related to the expanding capybara population, including road accidents and attacks by domestic animals.

The capybara is an amphibious herbivorous rodent native to South America, weighing around 55 kilograms (120 pounds) and exceeding one meter (three feet) in height.

Sebastian Di Martino, director of conservation at the Rewilding Argentina Foundation, said rodents were being driven out in urban areas by the degradation of their wetland habitats.

In 2020, fires devastated more than 300,000 hectares of wetlands in the Parana River Delta.

Di Martino added that there were also fewer predators to control the capybaras population.

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Erica Gill

The author Erica Gill

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