Conservation status

Hutias are highly threatened and many of the species are highly restricted island endemics. Two of the eight genera are

A Hispaniolan hutia (Plagiodontia aedium) rests on a tree branch. (Photo by Tom McHugh/Pt. Defiance Zoo, Tacoma/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

totally extinct and a third, Isolobodon, is known only from skeletal remains and is most likely also extinct. Of the 13 extant species, only two are considered secure and the remaining 11 are all threatened or Near Threatened. In 2002 the World Conservation Union (IUCN) considers six of these to be Critically Endangered.

The major threats are hunting for food, deforestation of habitat for agriculture, and the introduction of cats, mongoose, and black rats. Despite most hutias being protected by law urgent conservation action is required to safeguard their survival.

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