Although most people now keep chinchillas as pets, there was a time when these animals were hunted down and killed for their fur, which supposedly is extremely soft and, therefore, became highly fashionable in the 19th century.
However, thanks to continuous efforts made by conservationists and green-heads worldwide, the practice of chinchilla farming came to an end about 100 years after it had begun.
Truth be told, the decision to give up on harvesting the fur of these small mammals was also driven by the fact that, because of so many hunting campaigns, the species was brought very near to extinction. Basically, there was pretty much nothing left for the hunters to get their hands on.
informs us that, for the time being, chinchillas are to be found only in the northern regions of Chile and in Argentina.
Thus, they seem to have disappeared entirely from countries such as Bolivia and Peru, whose mountainous lands they used to inhabit in relatively large numbers.
The good news is that, according to researchers working with the University of Tarapaca and the National Forestry Corporation of Chile, the animals are presently making a comeback, meaning that two new colonies were recently discovered in some of Chile's more southern portions of land.
Overjoyed by their findings, the environmental specialists who came across these small mammals published a small account of how they succeeded in locating said short-tailed chinchillas in the Argentinean journal Neotropical Mammology.
As they explain, in order to track down and monitor these remote chinchilla colonies, they had to use motion-sensitive camera traps, which were installed in rocky regions and close to small caves.
Apparently, these locations were chosen because they represent the natural habitat of these animals.
It is expected that the finding of these new chinchilla families will help raise awareness with respect to how important it is to save this species from extinction, and that new conservation projects will soon be implemented in the areas which now house these furry creatures.