Conservation status

Generally coypus are common, with no special status. The coypu population was severely reduced in the past, mainly during the early nineteenth century as a result of intensive hunting for its valuable, velvet-like undercoat. Demand for its fur continues to the present, but not as much as in the past because its fur is no longer considered as attractive as it used to be. It is rapidly disappearing along many rivers and lakes in Argentina. The species became rare in many of its natural habitats during the height of its being hunted for its fur, but by the early 1900s, efforts were started to regulate hunting and to establish captive breeding farms. Such farms were established within its natural habitat and in other parts of the world. Some animals escaped or were deliberately introduced in such areas as the United States (especially the Gulf coast states, along the West coast to Washington, and the East coast to Maryland), Canada (mostly the southern parts), England, Holland, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Japan, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and central Asia. By the 1950s, the capture of coypus was prohibited in Argentina and Uruguay, and the nutria pelt trade also became illegal. (The name nutria is generally used when referring to its pelt.) Coypu populations in those countries started to recover following these actions. Most of the present fur trade is presently supplied by nutria farms, and by coypus that have become wild in North America, England, and Russia.

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