In a very polarized country like Argentina, the growing appearance of capybaras in a private and affluent neighborhood of Greater Buenos Aires has created a new political debate. Nordelta is an area of 1,500 hectares located in the delta of the Paraná River. There, in what was once the natural habitat of several animals, an exclusive and luxurious neighborhood was built, which today houses 40,000 people. Many houses have a garden overlooking the river.
The Capybaras have always been in the region, but in much smaller numbers. With the advance of real estate, its natural predators, like the tigers and jaguars that lived there until humans arrived, have been killed or evicted. As a result, capybaras, which breed quickly, began to dominate the landscape. Today, the estimated population of Nordelta is 400 capybaras. According to projections by environmentalists, it could reach 3,000 in less than two years.
Last week several funny episodes, and some violent ones, happened. Capybaras, who often swim in homes, have been seen devouring well-tended gardens and gardens, distributing piles of excrement and scaring children. Although it is a rodent that does not attack humans, there was a clash between them and the pets, in which several dogs were injured.
Some neighbors have adopted a more hostile behavior, firing shotguns in the air in an attempt to frighten them.
Photos of the “invasion” of capybaras, who usually walk in family groups of 10-20 animals, began circulating in hammocks and quickly became memes. Among internet users on the left, the arrival of animals was seen as nature’s revenge against the real estate rage of capitalism. On the other hand, local residents have shown their desperation, showing their gardens destroyed or their pets injured.
So far, plans to fix the problem have not gone off the paper and are generating a lot of debate. According to the Association of Neighbors of Nordelta, the idea is to encourage “peaceful coexistence” between human beings and capybaras. At the same time, create a space where they can stay and have enough food, “so that they don’t have to attack the gardens”. In the latter case, they say, they plan to transport them elsewhere.
There are residents who think that the measures are insufficient, others that it will take time. Others seek to “make friends” with the capybaras and invite them to drink mate. Meanwhile, outside, animal rights and environmental organizations are calling for more structural solutions. Among them, contain the progress of the construction of condominiums in an area rich in flora and fauna.
Although no decision has been made, capybaras, or “carpinchos”, as we say in Spanish, are among the trending topics in Argentina.
Meme circulating in the nets, capybaras like the Taliban seize Kabul (@NicoDelRojo)