All rights reserved. Armadillos prefer forested or semi-open habitats with loose textured soil that allows them to dig easily. You may be asking yourself, “What kind of nut would devote an entire page to armadillos? What might the future hold for Andean hairy armadillos? Armadillos can carry diseases such as St. Louis … Armadillo teeth do not have the hard white enamel coating that protects the teeth of other mammals. Participants carry the armadillo rattles in the morenada, a traditional dance that tells the story of African slaves imported in the 1600s to work in Boliviaâs silver mines. The Bolivian government still considers the Andean hairy armadillo to be endangered. As a result, the IUCN reclassified the Andean hairy armadillo from âvulnerableâ to âof least concern.â. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- They use them to help in digging, or to tear apart rotting wood to find food. They belong to the order Cingulata, family Dasypodidae. Mammals are animals that have hair and feed milk to their young. Exclusion. According to Tom De Meulenaer, CITESâs chief of scientific services, the Andean hairy armadillo isâfor nowâsafe from international trade. Dancers who already owned rattles were allowed to keep them. Gabriela Huayta Sarzuri, an armadillo researcher under Pachecoâs guidance at the University of San Simón, believes that the IUCNâs reclassification puts Andean hairy armadillos at great risk. Human encroachment, slash-and-burn farming, hunting, and deaths due to domestic dogs account for a large percentage of the problem. However, the Wildlife Code of Missouri specifies that damage-causing armadillos may be trapped or shot to prevent further damage. In other words, these animals wonât give up easily. Several said they âloveâ the animal, and the former mayor of Oruro, Edgar Bazan, said people from Oruro call themselves quirquinchos (the local name for the armadillos). âThey have the obligation to do something, but they are doing nothing,â he says. The pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphoras truncatus) is restricted to several small arid regions of South America, and the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) has been hunted extensively both as a food source and as an agricultural pest. Rodrigo Herrera, a legal assessor at the General Directorate of Biodiversity and Protected Areas in Boliviaâs Ministry of Environment and Water, says itâs up to local authorities to enforce this prohibition but that they often turn a blind eye to the problem. The Andean hairy armadillo was first described as a separate species in 1894, based on the skin and fragmented skull of a young adult from the Oruro area housed in the Natural History Museum, in London, England. âBut when we went to the field, things were completely different,â he says. (For context, raccoons are also listed as of least concern. Unfortunately, we face the risk of losing this species, which will gravely impoverish out planet's rich biodiversity. (When Bolivians hunt the armadillos for use as carnival objects, they catch them alive, then suffocate them so their faces and shells wonât be marred by wounds.). But these reclassifications have helped, not hurt, the ânewâ species, spurring conservation efforts. However, all of these animals represent only one species of armadillo, the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). Deaths due to domestic dogs also account for a large percentage of the problem. They were recently reclassified with another, more common, species. Armadillos are built to dig. But, Pacheco says, once animals are no longer considered threatened by the IUCN, itâs hard for researchers to get funding to study them. Because small bugs and soft plants are not too difficult to chew, armadillos do not have very complicated teeth. âThis animal is incredibly elusive.â During the next two years, Perez-Zubieta found traces of the armadillosâtracks and burrowsâbut he never caught one. This is only one of about twenty kinds of armadillo, and several of the others are endangered. As a part of her masterâs degree research, Pacheco surveyed 165 Bolivians about their attitude toward the armadillos. Their âuse is cultural, and knowing that the risk of extinction is less will tend to greater exploitation of the species and will reduce conservation efforts,â she wrote in an email. Some species are vulnerable, though. Although one species — the three-banded armadillo — can roll itself into a ball, none of the others can do so. They noted that its populations are âsteadily declining because of their overexploitation for traditional purposes.â, Delsuc says itâs up to the local Oruro government to protect the animals. Their shells are embroidered on costumes, hollowed out and made into rattles, or used as the body of guitars. Mariella Superina, of the IUCNâs armadillo specialist group, was a co-author of the 2015 taxonomic study. Even though itâs illegal in Bolivia to sell the armadillos and trinkets made from them, they can easily be bought. Most armadillos also have bony rings or plates that protect their tails. Affection for the near-sighted rooter has reached the faddish level as decals, games, puzzles, candles, stuffed toys, figurines, jewelry, T-shirts, and other items are decorated with or shaped to resemble armadillos. They are not worried about the importance of conservation, the importance of how quirquinchosâ loss will affect the environment.â. Pacheco says theyâre hardy creatures, able to survive cold temperatures in high-altitude habitatsârealms most humans want to avoid. The most easily recognized feature of an armadillo is its shell. She says the team has been accused of âextinguishing a species.â Thatâs why, she says, they decided to include a conservation section in the paper. Most armadillos also eat plants, and some species — like the giant armadillo — can cause quite a bit of agricultural damage if they happen to wander into a farmer’s field. Walter Rivera, a lawyer who specializes in biodiversity and professor of environmental law at Central University of Ecuador, says Boliviaâs laws are outdated and that policymakers show little interest in animal conservation. âNot at all.â, Along with their argument for reclassifying the species, the researchers issued a warning: Despite the taxonomic change, the Andean hairy armadillo should be protected. People seem to have a tendency to save only the “cute” animals, but each one is as important as any other. They are most active at night, and have very poor eyesight. Human encroachment, slash-and-burn farming, hunting, and deaths due to domestic dogs account for a large percentage of the problem. This isnât the first time a study has changed an animalâs species designation: In 2016, one species of giraffe was split into four, and in 2017, one species of silky anteater devolved into seven. This historic mammal has been considered an vulnerable species since 2002. In the last hundred years or so, the nine-banded armadillo has expanded its home range northward into the United States. Armadillos are mammals, just like you. This is due to many different reasons including human encroachment, slash and burn farming, and hunting. Sheâs danced in it several timesâthough her role didn't require her to carry an armadillo rattle. Local populations of Andean hairy armadillos, which live at high altitudes in Bolivia and other Andean countries, are declining in numbers. And the armadillos have a co-dependent relationship with the vegetation in their sandy-soil habitat: Roots of plants anchor the soil, preventing the burrows from caving in, and armadillo dung provides nutrients that help sustain the plants. Theyâre hard animals to capture and study, says Mariella Superina, an armadillo expert and chair of the Anteater, Sloth and Armadillo Specialist Group for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on the conservation status of wild animals and plants. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. “Aren’t there thousands of them all over the southwest?” The answer is yes — there are quite a few armadillos in the United States and Mexico. In 2006 when Pérez-Zubieta began a field study of the armadillos for his undergraduate thesis, he hoped to catch several to document their size and weight. Why does this page even exist?” Well, here is your answer. According to José Carlos Perez-Zubieta, a former biology undergraduate and current statistics professor at the University of San Simón, about 130 miles northeast of Oruro, the armadillosâ decline has implications beyond their own well-being. For 2019, he says, no one has proposed a change to the armadilloâs trade status. ), The Bolivian government still considers the Andean hairy armadillo to be endangered. Armadillos are an amazing group of animals that originated in South America. Armadillos have the ability to climb and burrow. Contrary to what you may have heard, the armadillo is neither a rodent nor a marsupial, and they are not related to the opossum any more than you are. There are twenty different species of armadillos.
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