GWCMC partners with Wichabai Ranch for pilot capybara captive breeding project
The Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission (GWCMC) has just started a partnership with Wichabai Ranch to start the first pilot capybara captive breeding project in Guyana. The initial goal of the captive breeding project is to reproduce the species in captivity and release young animals into the wild following a release plan to be approved by the GWCMC in order to contribute to increasing the capybara population in the South Rupununi. In addition, the ranch will also attract more tourists coming to Wichabai guest-house. Other objectives of the ranch are to explore the feasibility to sell capybara meat to reduce pressure from hunting or to process and commercialize the leather.
The plan is extensive. Some work has begun through a collaboration between the Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme, the Rupununi Livestock Producers Association (RLPA) and Wichabai Ranch, but much more will happen over the next few months. The Capybara enclosure, which covers an extensive area of 7.8 hectares, has been constructed thus far. The project intends to begin with up to 50 capybaras with a male-to-female ratio of 1:8, while attempting to source them in groups from three locations in the Rupununi. The locations will be determined following consultations with the respective village councils to determine who is interested. Improving the water supply for Capybaras by deepening the existing pond and/or drilling a water well will be additional tasks.
Regular monitoring and reporting to the GWCMC will take place on the farm through detailed record keeping and animal tagging. Once the project has been operating for some time and a substantial amount of data has been collected, the GWCMC in coordination with RLPA and Wichabai Ranch will outline the process for starting a capybara farm so that others can also start their own.