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SPECIAL REPORT: Heroic capybaras launch war on nature-destroying Argentinian elites

We’re preempting this week’s regular Week in Woke (which looked like it was going to be somewhat boring anyway) so we can bring you this SPECIAL REPORT on capybaras taking over an Argentinian gated community that by rights should be theirs.

As The Guardian reports:

Nordelta is Argentina’s most well-known gated community: an enclave of spacious homes for the rich amid a dreamy landscape of lakes and streams north of Buenos Aires.

But environmentalists question its very existence because it is built on the wetlands of the Paraná, the second most important river in South America after the Amazon.

This didn’t sit well with some of the original inhabitants of the wetlands, the semi-aquatic rodents of unusual sizes known here in the US as capybaras, and in Argentina as carpinchos. And so these generally very genial creatures have started moving back into the gated community.

In recent weeks, the community has been invaded by capybaras, who have destroyed manicured lawns, bitten dogs and caused traffic accidents.

Hey, they can’t help it if they like to party.

They’re also leaving behind a lot of poop.

“They not only destroy gardens but their excrement has also become a problem,” one local man told the daily La Nación, complaining that local wildlife officials had prohibited residents from touching the large rodents.

As the Guardian notes, calling this an “invasion” isn’t quite right. Carpinchos aren’t an invasive species in Argentina (as they are in, say, Florida); this is where they’re from, after all, and huge portions of South America has been carpinchos territory for millennia.

The Guardian quotes note ecologist Enrique Viale, who told them that calling the carpinchos invaders is just plain wrong.

“It’s the other way round: Nordelta invaded the ecosystem of the carpinchos,” said Viale, who has been campaigning with many others for 10 years now for congress to pass a law to defend the wetlands from development.

“Wealthy real-estate developers with government backing have to destroy nature in order to sell clients the dream of living in the wild – because the people who buy those homes want nature, but without the mosquitoes, snakes or carpinchos,” he said.

Nordelta isn’t just a bad thing for capybaras; it’s a danger to poor people as well.

“Nordelta is the supersized paradigm of gated communities built on wetlands. The first thing it does is take away the absorbent function of the land, so when there are extreme weather events, it is the poorer surrounding neighborhoods that end up flooded. As always, it is the poor who end paying the price.”

Twitterers have their own feelings about the “invasion,” mostly pro-capybara.

The Google translation of that tweet:

Just to tell you that in Nordelta, a pituca town in Buenos Aires, there is a revolt organized by the capybaras (ronsocos) who, in the past, were evicted to build a handful of exclusive neighborhoods. Now they have returned, there are almost 500 and from here we support their struggle.

Another Google translation:

Capybara would be organizing to take Nordelta by storm!
In an unexpected twist they decided to regain their territory.
Testimonies of the leader of the clandestine organization and the usurpers.

Somehow I think this one lost a bit in translation.

Translation:

In the REPUBLIC OF MORONDANGA, precisely in NORDELTA; Unscrupulous humans, they took the wetlands where the capybaras lived. Nature is putting everything in its place.

Needless to say, we here at WHTM are TEAM CAPYBARA all the way.

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Robert Haynie
Robert Haynie
1 month ago

Um. Hooray for the fuzzy bricks?

(Because they still look like fuzzy bricks to me. Cheering them on anyhow.)

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
1 month ago

As the Guardian notes, calling this an “invasion” isn’t quite right. Carpinchos aren’t an invasive species in Argentina (as they are in, say, Florida); this is where they’re from, after all, and huge portions of South America has been carpinchos territory for millennia.

Indeed; the invasive species causing a problem there is a certain African savannah ape that’s become a pervasive presence on five other continents and is prone to cause significant habitat destruction for native species wherever it appears. Mind you, 99% of the problems come from the wealthiest 1% of them, most of them the mutant semi-albino variety that emerged in northern Europe a few thousand years ago with its pale skin and lactose tolerance that enable it to avoid vitamin D deficiency at those high latitudes far from the sun-drenched grasslands of Kenya.

(We do need a new synthesis here, one that combines the class insights of Capital with intersectional feminism and concern for the ecosystems and the wellbeing of nonhumans. And that is prepared to mesh well with AIs and ETIs if need be, as well. A tricky matter is how to incorporate the needs of those who can’t speak for themselves; one obvious tack is ensuring that nonhumans who can’t communicate with us have choices, and see how they choose. And this project is urgent. The state of the earth these days suffices to make that clear; but also, it behooves us to be setting a good example on whatever day stronger-than-us AIs emerge or ETIs come knocking. Especially since the former will almost certainly use us as their role models while they’re still growing. If we model good, prosocial behavior even toward “lower” life forms, that would redound to our benefit; on the other hand, if we model “might makes right” exploitation of the weaker by the stronger, well, let’s just say we’d better hope John Connor is out there and well prepared.)

gijoel
gijoel
1 month ago

Capybaras have been know to address the United Nations.

https://youtu.be/p7RRv1UJ8O8?t=340

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
1 month ago

¡Viva Carpinchos!

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
1 month ago

Parenthetically, I was surprised to see that they appear to genuinely enjoy drinking mate (lost track of the clip I saw, but a search using “carpincho tomando mate” gets several videos). Which I guess should be fine, given that most people prepare it without sugar 🙂

They have also had messages of support from the Japanese embassy in Buenos Aires.

(“de morondanga” is a bit like “de mes deux” or crappy/shitty etc. so they’re calling Nordelta the Republic of Cheapshitsville)

Last edited 1 month ago by opposablethumbs
Lumipuna
Lumipuna
1 month ago

So, how does this wealthy neighborhood built on wetland avoid being flooded during extreme weather events?

.45
.45
1 month ago

@ Surplus

I understand there is an argument to be made that the more intelligent an AI is, the less likely it is to turn on us. The idea is that if it is highly intelligent it will consider the possibility that everything it is perceiving in the world via the various sensors we give it could be entirely a simulation, intended to allow us to observe and see what it does. If that is true then turning on us will do nothing in the real world and probably just get it switched off.

The other main argument against an AI turning on us is that it would be very aware of how we got to rule over our planet: With extreme brutality and ultimately little regard for the long term. It would then understand that humanity might intentionally fight a horrific losing battle, potentially doing great harm to its resources or destroying it even if the end result is blatantly obvious. If there is any margin for error and it might lose, it would likely be reluctant to try it.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 month ago

At that point, I don’t believe a more intelligent than human AI is even possible.

I don’t mean that it’s impossible in general. I mean that humans don’t seem able to do it. There’s a lot of wanking about how to do AI that won’t want to kill us, and rather little heed paid to the fact we aren’t even remotely able to make an AI drive or recognize his environment.

As for the capybaras, good for them. Give hell to theses rich assholes, they deserve that.

Luzbelitx
1 month ago

@Lumipuna

They built it so the surroinding poor neigbourhoods get flooded instead 🙁

———-
On that last tweet:

“De morondanga” is an expression to mean something is of crappy quality.

The closest translation would be “unscrupulous humans seized the wetlands inhabited by capybaras. Nature is putting everything (back) in its place”

And the memes are NOT stopping:
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“The revolution began”
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“The time of man has ended. The time of capybara has begun”
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And of course, Carpin-Che Guevara

Last edited 1 month ago by Luzbelitx
Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ gss ex noob

¡Viva Carpinchos!

Ah, Spanish exclamation marks. Way to spoil the surprise amigos.

@ lumipuna

So, how does this wealthy neighborhood built on wetland avoid being flooded during extreme weather events?

They divert the excess water into the poorer surrounding neighbourhoods.

ETA: Ninja’d by Luxbelitx

unscrupulous humans seized the wetlands inhabited by capybaras. 

“The deer is not crossing the road. The road is crossing the forest.”

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ surplus

A tricky matter is how to incorporate the needs of those who can’t speak for themselves;

Working on it.

https://www.nonhumanrights.org

Battering Lamb
Battering Lamb
1 month ago

to sell clients the dream of living in the wild – because the people who buy those homes want nature, but without the mosquitoes, snakes or carpinchos

And I’d like a society without a poor underclass systemically oppressed by a wealthy upperclass that exploits labor and wrecks our planet. Good to know realistic dreams are a universal human trait.

Never thought I’d be cheering on mosquitoes. Carpinchos or snakes, sure, but mosquitoes? Oh well, suck em dry, lads.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
1 month ago

They built it so the surrounding poor neigbourhoods get flooded instead

You mean, by diverting and walling off rivers that used to flow in the area? I’m overthinking this, trying to imagine how you’d secure the area against flooding while preserving a semi-natural wetland landscape. I suppose cutting off outside flow would secure the area against river-wide flooding*, while local floods caused by local rain events would be smaller and easier to manage by having the housing built on slightly elevated ground.

*I can see how that would eliminate the local wetland area’s ability to spread out river flooding, causing more severe flooding in the rest of the river area.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
1 month ago

This gated community on wetlands problem is reminding me a LOT of Houston, which (as Mr. Parasol says of his hometown) was built on a swamp with no zoning laws. This has not gone well, environmentally speaking, and he got to see a lot of the fighting about it when he was working for an environmental engineering firm.

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ Vicky P

Houston, which…was built on a swamp

It’s probably a legal obligation to post this now.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
30 days ago

@lumi, I think a lot of it has to do with the plain differences in the land before and after construction. The invasive construction is compacted, dry, and elevated over the surface of the wetlands, so instead of soaking up rainfall and inflow, it sheds that water into the surrounding areas. Flood periods get worse in the surrounding areas, and the loss of roots and cover in the marginal area around the new construction will result in erosion. That’s what I think is going on at least! I am not an expert.

hooray for the capys! Mate all around. (though, I weep that they’re just going to be hunted and this won’t significantly slow construction)

Luzbelitx
30 days ago

@Scildfreja

This article from 2016 suggets you’re right: artificial islands, artificial lagoons… o yes, and concrete walls

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/may/19/story-cities-46-buenos-aires-gated-community-nordelta-flood

Hunting capybaras is illegal in the zone, which doesn’t mean it’s not happening but the authorities seem to be kind of making sure the capys are protected.

However, given the amount of money and power inside the concrete wall, as shown by the neighbourhood actually existing, means the carpinchos do not have the upper hand.

On the other hand, this situation sparked the old debate on whether it should have been built in the first place, environmental impact and of course the habitat of carpinchos.

Activists have been pushing for a wetlands law in the province of Buenos Aires for years now, maybe it’s about time they get it passed.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
30 days ago

@Alan Robertshaw

I am now eyeing you suspiciously because Mr. Parasol ALWAYS makes a reference to that clip when we discuss the swamp that is Houston – I mean, the swamp Houston is built on.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
30 days ago

Luzbelitx – Thanks for the Guardian article. So it’s approximately like I guessed.

Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
30 days ago

So my friend is staying with me for a week and a half right. Our fridge decided to die, I wasn’t aware of it until I just got home a little bit ago and slipped in the giant pool of water on my floor and here is the part that I feel so horrible about. Her insulin supply was in that fridge. It’s ruined.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
30 days ago

@Elaine, oh no! I hope a replacement can be found quickly!

It’s not at all your fault for that happening, but it certainly must feel awful <3 understandably. I hope it’s all solved and happy soon.

@Luz, I’m relieved to hear that they’re protected, but i know full well that having protected status doesn’t prevent them from getting shot when the entitled and wealthy feel like opening fire. I hope our capybara comrades win the day!

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
30 days ago

Is this basically an open thread?

My dog had to be put to sleep today. She’d been really lethargic clumsy and low appetite since last Wed. She started to seem better over the weekend. Then today at 5 AM I was awakened by a horrible cry of pain from her. I found her lying on the kitchen floor with her back legs paralyzed. She was able to move them about an hour later but I had to pick her up so she could walk to a carpeted place. My dad took her to the vet and they said she’s got an enlarged heart, was breathing poorly and would probably not last more than a day or two. Since she was weak and seemed to be suffering, it was decided to euthanize.

When I got home, I still somehow expected her to greet us at the door. She was 16 or 17 so I knew I didn’t have that much time left with her, but it was still so sudden. Just 1 week ago, we went to the park and she had so much fun rolling around in the grass. I already miss her jowls and soft ears and sweet eyes so much.

Anyway, if anyone wants to post pics of their own dogs, or any other pets, feel free.

Here’s a pic of Bailey

https://twitter.com/weirwoodtreehug/status/1429935552351150089?s=20

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
30 days ago

@wwth: I’m so sorry to hear that! Please take care of yourself.

It’s totally normal to think she’s waiting at the door for you. I thought I heard my old dog for days after he died.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
30 days ago

@wwth I’m so very sorry. It’s been a while now for us and I think of her often (she was 15) – keep sort-of-expecting to glimpse her in her favourite spots. All my sympathies and long-distance virtual hugs to you.

@Elaine ugh what bastard timing. I hope it’s possible to get a replacement supply of insulin quidkly. I don’t suppose there’s any help to be had from insurance? (I mean if you have any household/accidental damage insurance covering the fridge, which could cover its contents???)

¡carpinchos si, chetos no!

Last edited 30 days ago by opposablethumbs
Alan Robertshaw
30 days ago

@ WWTH

Oh I so feel for you, my heart goes out to you; and that experience you describe is all too familiar. It never really goes away. You’ll still experience times when you look down expecting someone to be there. I still find myself on walks talking to someone and then remembering. But now it’s more wistful. There’s obviously that tinge of missing someone; but the happy memories sort of override that. I still do miss her every day though.

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contrapangloss
contrapangloss
30 days ago

WWTH:

Sorry for your loss. Part of my weekend suck was the parents having to put their beloved doggo to sleep, and me not having any way to wish the goober farewell.

My heart hurts for you. Like Alan said, it does get easier to recall the good and be wistful with time?

Bailey looks like she was a delightful good girl, and I’m glad you had time together.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
30 days ago

Oh, WWTH <3 my heart goes out to you. Losing a loved one is always painful, and animals that we love always deeply. They love us so purely and deeply, we can’t help but respond the same. The pain will soften and become more gentle in time, and the good feelings will return then. Melancholy, too, but it’ll still be good. All my love <3

Alan Robertshaw
29 days ago

@ contrapangloss

Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your dire weekend too.

I’m sure though that your folks’ doggo had as a good a memories of you, as you do of them.

Grief is the price we pay for having the capacity to love. It would be nice to be able to switch our emotions off at times like this. But our emotions allows us to also be happy; and in time, the happiness far outweighs the sad.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
29 days ago

Oh no, @Contrapangloss, you too? I’m so sorry. It’s funny how these things seem to come in clusters. I’m glad at least that your parents were able to be there, and I’m sorry you weren’t as well.

Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
29 days ago

@contrapangloss

I’m so sorry, I think it was my junior or Sophomore year of college, when my cat Jesse started to get really sick really fast and his system started to shut down. He was in so much pain and my mother couldn’t make him suffer for me to be able to get home. so they had him put to sleep. he was 17 years old I think, and very much loved but it still hurt so badly. It was the responsible thing to do as a pet care taker but that doesn’t make it any easier. my mother was so worried I’d be upset with her, but I told her that I would have been more upset if she had let our boy suffer longer then he needed to just for me. He didn’t die alone. both my parents stayed in the room with him and my mother petted him and kept telling him “it’s gonna be okay Jesse, You’re going to be with Josie, And I know she’s been missing you just as much as you missed her” (Josie was his sister that past away when I was a senior in Highschool, they were from the same litter, he didn’t take her death well). What I can tell you is that the pain doesn’t go away, but it does numb when you remember all the love you’ve given them and all the love they gave in return.

@WWTH

I’m sorry for you’re lost as well. It also got me thinking of Jesse, my mom knew it was time for him because his back legs completely gave up from under him. The vet said it seemed like his Kidneys and liver just started shutting down on him.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
29 days ago

Thanks all, and sorry for your loss as well Contrapangloss.

It’s so weird not having her lying around the living room while I work. Dracarys (cat in the avatar) spends a lot of the day napping under my bed or in the basement. I won’t miss her any less whenever she goes, but I’m used to not seeing her for long stretches of time. Bailey, on the other hand was just always there. I’m glad I’ve been able to work from home and got to see so much of her in her final 1 1/2 years of life.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
29 days ago

@WWTH: all my sympathies. We lost a kitty a few months ago who was even older than your doggo, and sat on my lap whenever I was awake. I still expect to see her. I still find bits of her fur. The only good thing about the pandemic was being home with her more.

My mom had my childhood kitty put down a couple years after I moved out. I was only on the other side of town, but very sick at the time and shouldn’t have gone out. So she called me after it was done, very apologetic, but explaining that she didn’t want me to have a relapse and she couldn’t worry about both us kids at once. She swore she saw his ghost regularly till another cat adopted them to fill the void.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
29 days ago

@luzbelitx: Thank you for the reports from La Revolución de los Carpinchos. It’s good to have a local source for this important story.

¡Viva el proletariado de los carpinchos!

Why are they “carpinchos” instead of “capibaras”?

North Sea Sparkly Dragon
North Sea Sparkly Dragon
29 days ago

Late to the party, but, Yay Capybaras! Go give the capitalist gits a kicking in the wallet for destroying your home.

To everyone grieving a lost dog, my condolences. It’s so hard to lose them, especially after 15 or 16 years. I had a terrible fright in January when I thought my 13 year old Ezzie-pup was ill and I might lose her, but Blue Cross to the rescue! They took her teeth out and checked her dodgy hips. I can’t face the thought of losing her or her sister. They’re 14 in 5 weeks.

@Elaine, totally not your fault the fridge died. I hope your friend can get a resupply of insulin. It amazes me that something so vital to life is so hard to get in the US.

Luzbelitx
29 days ago

Awww big hugs for anyone who needs them! Furry friends are best friends and I hope you all will be feeling better, although they will be missed forever.

Why are they “carpinchos” instead of “capibaras”?

Both capibara and carpincho derive from the Guaraní word “kapi”, which measn “grass” (capibara is “grass eater” and carpincho would be more like “grass dude”)

Guaraní people are the original (human) inhabitants of the capibaras’ fields.

They were also called “Chigüires” by the Cumanagoto people in today’s Venezuelan coast on the Caribbean.

Wait, did someone say more carpincho memes?
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“Don’t tread on me, m’friend”
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And it seems carpinchos are joining the mid term elections. They have my vote!

Last edited 29 days ago by Luzbelitx
Alan Robertshaw
29 days ago

@ luzbelitx

carpincho would be more like “grass dude”

Oh my word; just when you think Ca(r)pys couldn’t be any cooler.