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Problem - Maintaining the habitat of the capybara and breeding them for meat.

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Introduction

Problem - Maintaining the habitat of the capybara and breeding them for meat. The capybara (shown left 10) is currently classified as a common species in the 2000 IUCN Red List of threatened species. However, I have found through research that the number of capybara in the wild is declining, "Mortality from hunting is responsible for local extinctions or scarcity in many localities".1 Also this is confirmed by the statistic, "Today barely 100,000 capybaras are left in Venezuela". 2 The classification of the capybara as 'common' also means that people are unaware of the affect hunting will, and is having on the population of capybara living in the wild. The conservation of the capybara is overlooked by most people as it is considered a pest, due to its tendency to raid crops when fresh grazing is not available. The capybara has a great variety of habitats from forest and brush land to swamps, brackish mangrove areas and open savannah. The habitat needs to have all the components of water, dry ground on which to rest, grass and natural shelter1. These habitats are being destroyed by human activities, such as pollution of freshwater and the drainage of wetlands for agricultural use of the fertile soil, causing damage to the environment where the capybara seeks refuge from predators. Water is being abstracted for human usage increasing the threat to freshwater habitats. ...read more.

Middle

The minimum weight is 35kg. 6. Each slab of meat is marked with a safety seal indicating the point of origin and facilitating controls. 7. A bill of lading is required for transporting the product to market. 8. Fees are levied during transfer by the National Guard and occasionally in the market place. Between 1979 and 1984, 56 to 106 licenses were granted each year. 75-89% resulted in capybara capture, for a total harvest rate of 60 000-80 000 per year. Subsequently populations fell so much that the Ministry of the Environment enacted a much more restrictive policy. 1 Capybaras are also kept in captivity at zoos, but I believe that keeping the capybara in captivity could promote inbreeding, because there would be less distribution of the animal than there is in the wild. Cross-breeding two inbred lines can typically produce a hybrid that is more vigorous than either parent, known as hybrid vigour. The offspring are heterozygous at many loci. 4 However, Inbreeding depression occurs when closely related individuals breed, causing higher risk for the offspring inheriting two copies of harmful recessive alleles (see genetic diagram below). This inbreeding can cause mutations and increase the likelihood of inheriting diseases because there are less possible combinations of alleles to produce the gene. It could also lead to changes in the capybara and the way it is adapted to survive in its natural habitat, for example, a mutation causing the capybara to lose their webbed feet (see left for webbed feet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Capybara_Hattiesburg_Zoo_(70909b-58)_2560x1600.jpg ) ...read more.

Conclusion

The information I quoted was taken from www.fao.org/docrep/T0750E/t0750eOo.htm but I checked this with the information stated in Animal, an animal fact book and the information was very similar and also with the information I found on an information board next to the capybara enclosure at Chester zoo. In this book I also took the information, "farming has created grassland, the hill pastures of Europe and New Zealand, for example are a result of deforestation several centuries ago3"which is reliable because it is common in farming to cut down trees to make land for crops or livestock. "In the past grassland covered about two fifths of the earth's land surface. This grassland is being destroyed for agricultural use 3" was also taken from Animal and I knew this information is correct, as there has been an increase in farming, due to increased demand by a larger population of people. Source 1: Information on how the hunting of capybara is carried out and the restrictions around it was taken from www.fao.org/docrep/T0750E/t0750eOo.htm and was supported by www.bio.davidson.edu/people/vecase/behavior/spring2002/willoughby/other.html. This stated that "governments in the area enacted laws to protect these creatures" and "increased enforcement laws". Source 1 and 2: I found that capybara meat is "already being used in Argentina and Uruguay for sausage-making 1" from the website www.fao.org/docrep/T0750E/t0750eOo.htm and that capybara meat is low in fat on the website www.rebsig.com/capybara/capymeat.html. I also found evidence to support the idea that people eat capybara currently in these countries, information on the website www.bio.davidson.edulpeople/vecase/behavior/spring2002/willoughby/other.html. ...read more.

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Response to the question

The response to the question is done to a very high level. The candidate introduces the topic well and argues on a variety of topics that are relevant to the issue with this animal. The answer is clear and concise. ...

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Response to the question

The response to the question is done to a very high level. The candidate introduces the topic well and argues on a variety of topics that are relevant to the issue with this animal. The answer is clear and concise. The main body of text provides analysis and evaluations throughout, and sources are analysed at the end for their validity.

Level of analysis

The scientific depth that the candidate has gone into is what I would expect from the higher end of candidates at this level. The candidate uses a range of scientific principles to support their arguments increasing the depth of analysis shown in the essay. The candidate introduces the essay with a clear and concise background to the animal, and it would have been good to the candidate to sum the essay up with an overall conclusion. References are not cited throughout the text but they are presented in a bibliography but to increase their grade the sources would have been cited correctly in the text.

Quality of writing

All punctuation, grammar and spelling are to a high standard. Paragraphing presents the information clearly.


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