In the Pantanal, a natural region encompassing the world's largest tropical wetland area and located in Central-west Brazil, lives a 60 million years old species: the giant armadillo.

Endangered species

This neglected species is classified as “vulnerable” by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature): the giant armadillo population is estimated to have decreased by 30% during the 25 last years, mainly because of hunting, of the destruction of its habitat and of the illegal exotic animal trade. The first in-situ studies seem to show that the giant armadillo has a low demographic density and a low reproduction rate. The risk of local extinction of this animal is thus real, in particular in Brazil, where its headcounts are the lowest.

Conservation actions

Beauval Nature supports financially a conservation program for the species in the Pantanal region. Carried out in collaboration with the ICAS (Instituto de Conservacão de Animais Silvestres), this program aspires to study the species biology (reproduction, communication, diet, behaviour...), its distributional range within the Pantanal (vital territory, use of the habitat, available food resources...) and to evaluate its health condition.

Several field missions have already enabled to collect physical and biological data: mensuration, blood tests... some giant armadillos have been equipped with transmitters enabling the scientists to follow their moves.

Permanently active, several cameras with motion detectors were installed next to giant armadillo burrows. This allowed to collect and analyse many pictures. The first results show that about twenty species of vertebrates use the armadillo burrow as thermal shelters, to protect themselves from predators or as resting places. By creating habitats for other species, giant armadillos are real ecosystem engineers.

In order to make the research teams’ work easier on site, Beauval Nature has completely financed the purchase of a quad bike, enabling fast moves and the access to new zones.

This program allows great discoveries about the giant armadillo and is thus essential to its protection.

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