We’re preempting this week’s regular Week in Woke (which looked like it was going to be somewhat boring anyway) so we can bring you this SPECIAL REPORT on capybaras taking over an Argentinian gated community that by rights should be theirs.
As The Guardian reports:
Nordelta is Argentina’s most well-known gated community: an enclave of spacious homes for the rich amid a dreamy landscape of lakes and streams north of Buenos Aires.
But environmentalists question its very existence because it is built on the wetlands of the Paraná, the second most important river in South America after the Amazon.
This didn’t sit well with some of the original inhabitants of the wetlands, the semi-aquatic rodents of unusual sizes known here in the US as capybaras, and in Argentina as carpinchos. And so these generally very genial creatures have started moving back into the gated community.
In recent weeks, the community has been invaded by capybaras, who have destroyed manicured lawns, bitten dogs and caused traffic accidents.
Hey, they can’t help it if they like to party.
They’re also leaving behind a lot of poop.
“They not only destroy gardens but their excrement has also become a problem,” one local man told the daily La Nación, complaining that local wildlife officials had prohibited residents from touching the large rodents.
As the Guardian notes, calling this an “invasion” isn’t quite right. Carpinchos aren’t an invasive species in Argentina (as they are in, say, Florida); this is where they’re from, after all, and huge portions of South America has been carpinchos territory for millennia.
The Guardian quotes note ecologist Enrique Viale, who told them that calling the carpinchos invaders is just plain wrong.
“It’s the other way round: Nordelta invaded the ecosystem of the carpinchos,” said Viale, who has been campaigning with many others for 10 years now for congress to pass a law to defend the wetlands from development.
“Wealthy real-estate developers with government backing have to destroy nature in order to sell clients the dream of living in the wild – because the people who buy those homes want nature, but without the mosquitoes, snakes or carpinchos,” he said.
Nordelta isn’t just a bad thing for capybaras; it’s a danger to poor people as well.
“Nordelta is the supersized paradigm of gated communities built on wetlands. The first thing it does is take away the absorbent function of the land, so when there are extreme weather events, it is the poorer surrounding neighborhoods that end up flooded. As always, it is the poor who end paying the price.”
Twitterers have their own feelings about the “invasion,” mostly pro-capybara.
The Google translation of that tweet:
Just to tell you that in Nordelta, a pituca town in Buenos Aires, there is a revolt organized by the capybaras (ronsocos) who, in the past, were evicted to build a handful of exclusive neighborhoods. Now they have returned, there are almost 500 and from here we support their struggle.
Another Google translation:
Capybara would be organizing to take Nordelta by storm! In an unexpected twist they decided to regain their territory. Testimonies of the leader of the clandestine organization and the usurpers.
Somehow I think this one lost a bit in translation.
In the REPUBLIC OF MORONDANGA, precisely in NORDELTA; Unscrupulous humans, they took the wetlands where the capybaras lived. Nature is putting everything in its place.
Needless to say, we here at WHTM are TEAM CAPYBARA all the way.
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