The Open School of Tropical Animal

Science and Production


   4/25/2024 3:32:11 AM





The contents of this section is drawn primarily from the following document:


Wildlife Utilization in Latin America

Current Situation and Prospects for Sustainable management,

[FAO Conservation Guide 25, FAO, Rome 1996]

By: Juhani Ojasti, Professor Emeritius, Facultad de Ciencias,

Universidad Central de Caracas.


This was a very comprehensive analysis of the wildlife situation for Latin America and the Caribbean, and in it the author presented an overview of the Management and needs of Neo-Tropical Wildlife Species. The work spans the author's experience over 25 years and interviews with 55 people in 17 Latin American countries.


Patterns of Utilization of Neo-Tropical Wildlife


In Latin America and the Caribbean from an administrative and legal standpoint there are five (5) kinds of hunting:

  1. Subsistence Hunting

  2. Hunting for Sport

  3. Commercial Hunting

  4. Hunting for Scientific Purposes

  5. Culling Pest Species

Picture of hunters in Trinidad


The order of importance of the kinds of Wildlife use in Latin America and the Caribbean is a quantitative unknown, but statistics on the number of licenses issued and the number of hide and animal exports do definitely underestimate the real total. Most hunters in latin America do not comply with the game laws and the number of kills is unknown.


Table 6 indicates that primates, birds, rodents and peccaries accounted for 75.6% of the animals harvested. Dasyprocta

 sp. (Agouti), Agouti paca (Lappe) and Hydrochaeris sp. (Capybara) accounted for 16.5% of the harvest, while Peccaries or Quenk accounted for 13.1% of the animal's harvested. Ojasti (1996) also suggested that the consumption of game species by native peoples meets recommended daily protein intake requirements.


Picture of a peccary


Thirty (30) Key Groups and Species were highlighted by Ojastic (1996), but what was also highlighted was how little we know about the Dasyprocta sp. that is widespread throughout the Caribbean and that we take for granted. At the OTF-APL we have conducted the following works on the Agouti: brown-Uddenberg (2001) and Garcia et al (2000).


Table 6: A breakdown of the major types of animals harvested in Latin America and the Caribbean 






31.1% of Total Number

Rodents and Peccaries

29.6% of Animals

Rodents - Dasyprocta spp. Agouti paca, Hydrochaeris spp.






Of the 30 Key Groups or Species of Latin America Game Animals only three (3) are widely distributed in North America: Dasypus novemcinctus, Odocoileus virginianus and Sylvilagus floridanus. It is also worthwhile to note that the remainder of the game species and groups (27 in number) are exclusive to Latin America and guidelines for their respective management and for research must be developed entirely within the region.



Dr. Gary W. Garcia, Ph.D.,

Department of Food Production, Faculty of Science and Agriculture,

The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.