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Bolivia plans to export capybara meat to Venezuela; famous capybara Caplin Rous is horrified

December 9, 2009 |  6:28 pm

Capybaras

It's a tough life, if you're the world's largest rodent. 

The capybara, a species resembling a giant guinea pig (and we do mean giant -- they can weigh up to 140 pounds) that's native to South America, is considered such a delicacy in Venezuela that hunters have greatly depleted the country's capybara population.  Now, the Associated Press reports, indigenous communities in Bolivia are planning to capitalize on Venezuela's hunger for the giant rodents by exporting dried capybara meat there, to the tune of 200 to 500 animals annually. 

While Bolivia-based conservation group the Fundaci√≥n Amigos de la Naturaleza supports the move, calling the number of animals the country plans to export an environmentally sustainable amount, the world's most famous capybara is crying foul today. Caplin Rous ("Rous" is an acronym for Rodent of Unusual Size, a reference to the cult film "The Princess Bride"), whose YouTube videos and GiantHamster.com website have turned him into an Internet superstar, called the notion of exported capybara meat "disturbing news for me" in an e-mail sent to Unleashed earlier today. (He's not very expansive, but after all, he is a rodent.)

Caplin -- whose exploits include performing tricks like a dog, riding on a boogie board and playing on a plastic playground slide -- is a vegetarian whose snack of choice is certainly not jerky of any sort, much less capybara jerky.  (For the record, he much prefers popsicles -- see a video of him eating one after the jump.) 

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Capybaras cross a road in Corrientes Province, Argentina.  Credit: Daniel Garcia / AFP/Getty Images

Video: caplincapybara via YouTube

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