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84. Santa Catarina Guinea Pig

Cavia intermedia


Santa Catarina’s guinea pig is one of the rarest species on the planet, with an estimated population of 42 individuals.

It also has one of the smallest geographic distributions of any mammal – about 4 ha of a 10.5 ha island. Its ancestors diverged from the mainland guinea pigs following the isolation of Moleques do Sul Island as a result of rising sea levels some 8,000 years ago. Over this time period this species evolved several adaptations to island life, such as high population density, stable age structure and small home range size. With such a small population size and low reproductive rate this species is particularly vulnerable to threats such as hunting and natural disasters

  • Order: Rodentia
  • Population: 42
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 20-40cm
  • Weight: 577-740g

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.17 (?)
ED Score: 10 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


Endemic to Serra do Tabuleiro State Park, on Moleques Island do Sul, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. They are found in only 4 ha of the 10.5 ha island.

Habitat and Ecology

This species’ inhabit areas predominantly covered by herbaceous vegetation, which is their main food source. Reproductive rates are low, with 78% of pregnant females producing a single large offspring, which takes longer than the mainland species to mature.

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Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Tourism Earthquakes Avalanches Habitat change Droughts Extreme temperatures Extreme weather Livestock Hunting Recreation Wars Work Fire Invasive species Native species Introduced genetic material Disease

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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