This book is a gem: I love everything about it!
It’s free to distribute everywhere, as long as you give credit to the author. The author is, in fact, the Government of Pernambuco, a state in Brazil. They had some help, as you will see on page two. The story starts on page three, so skip down there, and I’ll help you out with the Portuguese.
The title of the book is The Capybara Invasion. You probably guessed that. The rest of it is trickier, so I ran it through Google Translate and then cleaned it up. You’re welcome.
Government of Pernambuco
Governor: Paulo Henrique Saraiva Câmara
Secretary of Environment and Sustainability – SEMAS
Secretary: José Antônio Bertotti Junior
State Environmental Agency – CPRH
Chief Executive Officer: Djalma Souto Maior Paes
Polluting Sources Control Board – DCFP
Director: Eduardo Elvino Sales de Lima
Territorial Management and Water Resources Board – DGTRH
Director: Nelson José Maricevich
Forest Resources and Biodiversity Directorate – DRFB
Director: Janaína Teixeira da Silva
Environmental Technical Directorate – DTA
Director: Paulo Henrique Camaroti da Silva
A few more credits and we’re almost there. My translation attempt is in italics.
Copyright © 2021 CPRH
Partial reproduction of this work is permitted, provided the source is cited.
Social Communication and Environmental Education Nucleus – NCSEA
Head: Francicleide Palhano de Oliveira
Environmental Education Unit – UEAM
Manager: Lucy Regina Farias de Melo Miranda Costa
Project Communication and Sustainability
Text: José Luís Said Cometti
Illustration: Mônica Simone de Lima Maia
Cataloging: Maria Madalena Barbosa de Albuquerque
C732i COMETTI, José Luís Said.
The capybara invasion. Recife: CPRH, 15p.
1. Capybara 2.Rio Capibaribe 3.Pollution 4. Deforestation 5. Preservation 6. CPRH I.
I. Author II. Title.
State Environmental Agency – CPRH.
Rua Oliveira Goes, 395 – Poço da Panela, Recife.
CEP: 52061-340. Phone: (81) 3182880
The year is 2050…
_ Uncle Quincas, let’s go soon! I don’t want to meet with
those boring friends of yours in the Capibaribe river.
_ Who are you talking about, Levi?
_ Those capybaras. They invaded the Capibaribe river.
_ Levi! What is it, boy? Capybaras are not boring. And they didn’t invade the river at all!
Uncle Quincas and his nephew took their bikes and followed the bike path, heading for Praça do Baobá. In the park that borders the Capibaribe river, there were several people playing sports, having picnics or simply contemplating the river. And what did they see and hear? Birds singing and flying, celebrating life. And an attraction on its own: the capybaras.
Levi and Uncle Quincas sat on the banks of the Capibaribe river and soon spotted a group of capybaras. The animals had the biggest party when they saw Uncle Quincas. It was a scene that kept repeating itself and that Levi never understood.
I wonder why?
_Uncle Quincas, I know you are very nice, but why do these capybaras like you so much?
_ Ah, Levi! Sit here and I’ll tell you.
Levi was curious to hear what his uncle was going to say. And, it seems, the capybaras also wanted to hear the story. They stayed still, attentive.
What I’m going to tell you is a true story, which happened in the year 2020, when I was your age, Levi.
_ At that time the world population was under great stress. People only cared about buying things. People thought it would make them happy, but it didn’t. They had to work more and more and stayed away from their children. Major hurricanes hit the United States, and in Brazil, deforestation in the Amazon broke records.
_ The smoke from forest fires ended up in the city of São Paulo. Even the Pantanal dried up and many animals died.
_ Here in Recife, sewage was hardly treated and people threw a lot of garbage in the streets and rivers.
_Oh, uncle! How absurd! And people didn’t have the Internet at that time, didn’t they? To know how to get things right?
_ We did have it! But many people used it just to pass on fake news! And it was at this time that a new coronavirus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic emerged, which made thousands of people sick.
_ I already studied about it. These diseases arise because of environmental imbalance.
_ That’s right! And the only way to contain this disease was with social distance, the use of masks and hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol. Governments decreed a lockdown and no one could leave the house. The streets were deserted and the days were very apprehensive and silent. As humans were quarantined at home, animals took over the streets in several cities around the world. Even here in Recife.
_ Ah! Was that when the capybaras invaded the Capibaribe river?
_ Oh, boy! I already told you that they didn’t invade anything. Calm down, I’ll explain everything to you.
_ Levi, when I saw the news on TV that this was happening, I searched the internet and found out a lot of things about this species. Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. To escape the heat, they spend most of the day in water. I also learned that Capibaribe river in the language of the Tupi Guarani Indians means Capybara River and that it was quite dirty.
_ And, even so the capybaras lived in it? Ew, uncle!
_ So you can see how strong they are! Surviving this pollution is not easy for any life. And not just capybaras, Levi! In the Capibaribe river and on its shore there are about ninety species of animals.
_ And there was other news that saddened me a lot, Levi! The source of the Capibaribe river is in the wild of Pernambuco and it passes through several cities before arriving here in Recife. With the deforestation of the riparian forest, the capybaras went looking for food. You know: they love grass. And when they got close to the houses on the farms they were hunted down and mistreated.
_ Seriously, uncle? Couldn’t they just scare them away?
_ It was never just one, because they always travel with their families in a herd.
_ But hunting and mistreating wild animals is an environmental crime, uncle. It is in Law No. 9,605/1998.
_ Some people were punished. But offenders were not always found.
_ So Levi, I had an idea to save the capybaras. And for that, I understood that first we had to save the Capibaribe river. I researched more and saw that I could start by separating recyclable waste at home and delivering it to a scavenger. Then I posted a video of how to do this and encouraged my friends to do the same.
_ How cool, uncle! And were there a lot of people doing it?
_ Yes, there was. But more was needed. It was still necessary to promote the total treatment of sewage and the reforestation of the riparian forest. And the force of popular pressure was what made the movement work.
_ It took a few years, Levi. With the arrival of the vaccine and the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, countries realized that it was necessary to invest in a sustainable economy and take better care of the environment. They started to use more and more clean energies such as solar and wind, which cause less pollution than oil. And I, from a young age, started to participate in groups that discussed proposals to revitalize Capibaribe and create a park on its banks.
_ Really, uncle. It wasn’t an invasion. Capybaras have always been on the Capibaribe river.
_ Yes, Levi! And when our conscience and the river were clean, the Capibaribe became the capybaras river again.
_ Uncle, look how many capybaras there! _ They are beautiful, aren’t they?
_ Ah, uncle, now I understand why you like them so much and they like you.
_ Is that you?
Levi arrived close to the capybaras and announced:
_ All right. I’m going to share my uncle Quincas with you, okay?
_ I… I will no longer care that I like them so much.
Uncle Quincas was moved and hugged his nephew tightly. Before leaving, they also embraced the Baobá.
Nearby, a group of capybaras watched the scene, while enjoying the grass on the banks of the Capibaribe. The river that is theirs.
This story is a fantasy, but it is based on real facts. Urbanization, incorrect disposal of waste, deforestation, the discharge of sewage into rivers, and illegal hunting have affected the life of several species of flora and fauna, such as capybara.
Urban centers are also home to wild animals that bring ecological benefits but can also generate conflicts. Capybara is a grazing animal and promotes seed dispersal. However, they are a host to ticks and can transmit diseases to humans. Therefore, direct contact with capybaras should be avoided. Let’s just watch them, ok!?
You can collaborate for the conservation of our fauna and with the work of CPRH. Don’t buy and don’t mistreat wild animals. Denounce fairs, illegal creations and other environmental crimes.
For complaints (including anonymous ones), contact the CPRH Environmental Ombudsman: Tel.: (81) 3182 8923.
Or send the information by e-mail to: Ouviriaambiental@cprh.pe.gov.br
For voluntary delivery of wild animals, contact the Fauna Management Sector, at CPRH: Tel.: (81) 3182.8905.
Or at CETAS Tangara (Pernambuco Wild Animal Screening Center): Estrada da Mumbeca, Km 8, Bairro da Guabiraba, Recife. Tel.: (81) 3182.9022.
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did! Complaints about the book can go directly to the contacts shown above. Compliments or corrections to the translation come here. Complaints about the book’s inclusion on this website or whether or not you think Dobby would approve come here as well.
Here is the link to the original pdf: http://www2.cprh.pe.gov.br/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/A-invasa_o-das-capivaras_08_09_21.pdf