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Endemic Hutia Protected in Central Cuba

The hutia, also tree rat, is a Cuban mammal that is to be carefully protected. Photo: PL  Cuban specialists from the province of Ciego de Avila are implementing a plan aimed at protect the hutia conguina, a subspecies of the hutia conga - endemic to the Cayos de Ana Maria cays, at the Jardines de la Reina national park, in the southern part of this central jurisdiction.

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Juan Carlos Pina, a researcher at the environmental protection agency in Ciego de Avila, 430 kilometers east of Havana, told Prensa Latina that the agency is working on moving the nests of the hutia to safer places.

He said that this type of rodent, which is an endangered species, was found several years ago in the mangroves of the La Salina Keys.

It is much smaller than others living elsewhere in the island, thus the name of hutia conguina.

Indiscriminate hunting of the species forced urgent measures for its preservation.

Some animals were moved to the Loma, another small island that is part of the Cayos de Ana Maria chain.

A number of environmental education programs are underway for workers and residents of nearby communities to teach people about the importance of protecting the areas where a number of Cuban species live, Pina said.

In recent studies conducted in the area of La Loma, where some 30 hutia burrows were located, around 50 jutia have already been counted, showing themselves well-adapted to their new habitat, Pina said.

The hutia conguina is brown in color, measures about 20 cm, weighs between 200 and 420 grams and feeds on mangroves and crustaceans. / Source: PL.

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