These large, shy rodents have lost most of their natural habitat to rapid development in their native Mexico.
Species name: Mexican agouti (Dasyprocta mexicana).
Where found: Southern Mexico, primarily in what's left of their evergreen and second growth forests. An introduced population also lives in Cuba. Ten other agouti species exist throughout South and Central America, but the Mexican agouti is the most at risk of the lot.
Major threat: Habitat loss due to agriculture and urban expansion. According to the IUCN, which last assessed the species in 2008, the Mexican agouti lost 89 percent of its habitat over the previous 50 years.
Notable conservation programs: Nada.
Multimedia: Agouti are known for standing on their rear feet and using their front paws to eat. Here you can see one eating a banana. Yeah, it's cute:
Photo by Leonora Enking via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
John R. Platt is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His "Extinction Countdown" column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists. Follow John R. Platt on Twitter