Throughout our history, humanity has suffered numerous plagues, a concept that the World Health Organization defines as a population of a certain species whose density exceeds the tolerance level, becoming harmful to humans or others living beings. These unwanted invasions can range from ‘weeds’ and fungi that kill crops (such as vine mildew, Plasmopara viticola ); even arthropods (such as cockroaches) or mammals (such as rats and mice) that run around and eat everything they find in our homes.
Last August of this same year, the wealthy neighborhood of Nordelta, in the city of Tigre (province of Buenos Aires, Argentina), suffered a rare invasion. It is estimated that some 400 capybaras ( Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris ) or capybaras, as they are known in Argentina, happily roamed the streets of the city destroying everything in their path: eating the plants in the gardens, removing them in the garbage bags and even, causing some traffic accidents.
Capybaras are the largest living rodent and can reach 130 cm long and weigh about 65 kg. They are strict herbivores, that is, they feed exclusively on vegetables and each female can give birth to eight young a year. Therefore, it is estimated that, if not controlled, in 2023 the population of Nordelta will reach 3,500 individuals.
The residents of the area are really concerned and assure the newspaper La Nación that “we always saw capybaras, but not in the amount we see now. Although the first time we saw one it gave us a lot of happiness, afterwards they began to reproduce exponentially. Now they walk the streets, devour the gardens and we have problems with pets. Nor do we know what diseases they can transmit and whether or not they could attack a baby, because they flock to all the neighborhoods ”. In turn, Manuel Jaramillo, general director of Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina, responds on América TV that “a capybara would never attack a dog or a cat, they are usually peaceful animals and no aggressions have been witnessed in nature. It would be strange if this was the first time. Now, if a domestic animal attacks one of these rodents and it has no chance to escape, it will not hesitate to fight back to defend itself. “
In reality, the Nordelta neighborhood was built on a wetland next to the Reconquista River, populated by capybaras hundreds of years ago. When humans arrive, at first the animals can hide, but as time passes they gain confidence and lose shame. In addition, according to Jaramillo, it is we ourselves who facilitate the demographic explosions of their populations, since we indirectly feed them with our waste. To this fact is added that the capybaras no longer have natural predators in the area, such as the puma or the jaguar, that can control their numbers, since we humans eliminated them from these territories 200 years ago.
To all this, the neighbors demand that these gigantic rodents be expelled from the neighborhood as soon as possible and be transferred to another area. Without actually wondering who invaded whom.