The Tulsa Zoo supports the conservation of wild chinchillas through habitat restoration in central Chile. Excessive hunting greatly reduced the number of wild chinchillas. Today, hunting is forbidden and the animals are protected by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Animals. Although these animals are protected, their habitat continues to be destroyed. Grazing animals, collection of wood, and mining harm this endangered animal’s last known habitat. About half of the wild population is located within a fenced reserve. The rest of the population which contains around 5,000 individuals is located on private unprotected land.
Research Field Station and Habitat Restoration
The goal of this field station and project is to restore essential habitat for endangered chinchillas while deterring habitat degradation in this ecosystem. Specifically, we will focus on ecosystem restoration in Quebradas Cuyano, Zapallar, Los Lioneras y Curico utilizing native vegetal species, many of which are endemic and of grave conservation concern. Our purpose is to reinstate habitat not only for wild chinchillas but also for native insect, amphibian, reptile, bird, and other mammalian species, with help from the local populace. In these areas we will create exclusive livestock grazing areas, thus curbing grazing of native vegetal communities that support local fauna, including chinchillas.
Find out more about chinchilla conservation.