ENDANGERED SPECIES: Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig

As much as I love animals, my love especially goes to the endangered ones, because they are in WAY more danger of extinction than other animals all over the planet. It deeply saddens me how there are so many endangered species that no one knows about. For example, my animal, the Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig. This animal is not very popular, especially behind the ‘Save the Polar Bear,’ and ‘Help Save the Tigers,’ signs. I would like to make my point in showing that this guinea pig is just as important as polar bears and tigers. That as awesome or adorable so many other animals are, this animal is very cute, and is very important as well.

The scientific name for the Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig is Cavia Intermedia. My animal is lucky to only be endangered, rather than something even worse — extinction. What is the difference between an animal being threatened, endangered and extinct, one might ask? If an animal is threatened by a certain species — humans, for example — they are menaced by this species, or to be in danger of someone or something harming or killing off the animal. When an animal is endangered, it is threatened by extinction by a species killing them off, their habitat is melting from global warming, polar bears for example, or even their habitat is being cut down little by little. If an animal is extinct, it means that they are no longer in existence; that their race has ended or died out.

Santa Catarina's Guinea Pig

The animal that I’m studying is the Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig. This guinea pig just looks like a very long regular pet guinea pig. It’s full length ranges from two-hundred millimeters to four-hundred millimeters. The weight of the guinea pig ranges from five-hundred seventy seven grams to around seven-hundred twenty one grams, and females from six-hundred grams to about seven-hundred forty grams. The female guinea pigs are heavier because of the weight they carry during pregnancy. The guinea pig has dark brown fur on its back and the shades of brown get lighter as the color travels down it’s body. It is white on it’s stomach. It has sharp claws that allow them to dig safe burrows in the ground where they can live. They have no external tail, allowing them to escape from enemies quicker, possibly even saving their lives.

My animal lives in the Moleques do Sul Island. Moleques do Sul Island is a rocky, mountainous island full of forests and open grasslands where animals can thrive. It’s temperature is twenty-five degrees Celsius in the summer time. The island’s precipitation is about five-hundred eighty millimeters. This small island is located off the coast of Santa Catarina, a state in Brazil located in South America. The Santa Catarina Guinea Pig generally eats Paspalum vaginatum, St. Augustine grass – both different types of grasses found on the island – bushes, and all other forms of grass vegetation found on this island. My animal gets it’s food by eating it’s surrounding plants, and uses it as shelter to cover their homes so they will not be found as easily or at all by hunters. The guinea pig gets it’s shelter by surrounding itself with bushes and grass vegetation, and it burrows into the ground or takes shelter in another burrow dug by another animal.

My animal is endangered because of people hunting them, they live only on this tiny island and exist no where else, they have very low birth-rates, and raptors also hunt this guinea pig. My adaptation to the Santa Catarina Guinea Pig is to stop people from hunting and killing off this endangered species. This adaptation helps the guinea pig in it’s environment and may prevent it from becoming extinct because the guinea pig’s experience in the wild and knowledge of how to hide their homes protect them from hunters trying to hunt them down and attempt to make a lot of money off their furs and meat, as guinea pig is a delicacy in South America. The Santa Catarina Guinea Pig is important to its environment because its species separated from the mainland eight-thousand years ago and is unique to this biome because it exists no where else on the planet. It also provides a good example of island syndrome – an isolated species with no cross-breeding with others adapting to its varying biomes. No other mammals live in Moleques do Sul island. This animal adapted, perhaps other died out over the eight-thousand year isolation, while this species prospered.

My animal is endangered because of how its being treated in its island biome. This island is a popular hunting spot as it has a lot of open land for animals to roam free. The land is open for people to freely come and go as they please, and I think we should put a stop to that. People shouldn’t be able to hunt these animals without getting fined or thrown in jail, no endangered species should be available to hunters to gun down. My adaptation would make the island off-limits for hunters, creating a somewhat safe haven for the guinea pigs to thrive. We could become actively involved in protecting this animal and all endangered or threatened animals by donating to the World Wild Life Fund which puts money into protecting our animals, you could make an endangered species awareness club in your community which would be useful to spread awareness to others in your community, or you could create a strong enforcement of laws protecting endangered and threatened animals, creating safe grounds for animals to live on where people aren’t permitted to hunt. Doing this would create a safe environment for animals to flourish and repopulate until they have safe numbers again.

MLA Citations

  1.  Wildscreen Arkive. NA. ND. Web. 8 March 2015.
  2. Chapman, R.E. 2008. Cavia Intermedia. The ICUN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014. 3. 9 March 2015.
  3. Encyclopedia of Life. NP. 5 January 2009. Web. 8 March 2015.
  4. Earth’s Endangered Creatures. NA. ND. Web. 11 March 2015
  5. BaDour, K. 2014. “Cavia Intermedia”, Animal Diversity Web. 11 March 2015
  6. EDGE of Existence. NA. ND. Web. 11 March 2015.