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My Fame Stretches to 30 minutes

Me with Neptune

Me with Neptune

Against all odds, my famosity has extended beyond the run-of-the-mill 15 minute variety. I dare say I have achieved a full 30 minutes! This is great because as Capybara Ambassador it is my job to let people know about us capybaras, including how cute and how smart we are. I am being super successful at that, not that I like to brag. I had a whole bunch of articles written about me this month, too many to put links to all of them so these are just some highlights. The photo of me with Neptune was one of the most popular photos used. I can understand why because we sure look cute together.

The LA Times

Planeta Bizzaro (in Brazil)

The Telegraph (in the UK)

EToday (in Russian!)

PEOPLEPets and msnbc.com

HLN.BE (Belgium)

I did a video segment for KENS5 in San Antonio, Texas

Here’s an article on Hobby.cz about me in Czech!

Here is an article about me in Pets Best Newsroom. Question is, why did they use a photo of some other capybara? That is not me.

I even got a dumb reference from the comedian, Dave Barry. Not sure I like those comments.

And wow! Look, here’s an article about me in Thai!

There were more, including one in a newspaper in Hong Kong that I couldn’t get a link to. So you can see that I am Capybara Ambassador Extraordinaire!

I want to thank Linda Lombardi of the Associated Press. She started this whole thing rolling with her article about me. Thanks Linda!

Bolivia, Venezuela, LA Times and Me

Two young capybaras cross the road (Image from LA Times)

Two young capybaras cross the road (Image from LA Times)

Bolivia plans to export capybara meat to Venezuela;
famous capybara Caplin Rous is horrified.

I was quoted in the LA Times this week in an article by Lindsay Barnett. Normally this would make me very excited and happy but the topic of the article brings much stress to my little capy heart.

I am so worried about my wild cousins. It’s not like they don’t have enough to worry about with anacondas, jaguars, crocodiles, caiman, piranha, cars and humans hunting them for local consumption. Now my relatives in Bolivia are going to hunted and exported (dead) to Venezuela. I don’t think this is a good idea, and not just because we are adorable, smart, affectionate animals that would be much better appreciated alive.

Hunting capybaras will naturally make them much more reclusive. It will get harder and harder to spot them in the wild, even if their numbers don’t decline. As I said above, we are smart animals and we will figure out what’s going on in no time. This will hurt Bolivia’s ecotourism industy since ecotourists like it when they can see animals, especially large, cute animals like capybaras.

Also, capybaras are being ranched in Venezuela. It would be better to encourage that rather than importing animals from elsewhere. Ranching is (hopefully) done in a sustainable manner. The ranch owners have much more at stake in maintaining the local populations than hunters do. Sadly, hunting has greatly diminished our numbers, or even completely wiped us out, in large areas of our former range.

In some ways humans are smart but in others they are really slow learners. I hope they don’t learn too slowly for my wild cousins to survive.

Oh, and I wish people would stop saying that I should be in the wild! It’s starting to make me mad. The wild sure isn’t what it used to be.