Nordelta is Argentina’s best-known gated community: an enclave of spacious homes for the wealthy amid a dreamy landscape of lakes and streams north of Buenos Aires.
But environmentalists question its very existence because it is built on the wetlands of Paraná, the second most important river in South America after the Amazon.
Today, however, nature is fighting against the wealthy inhabitants of Nordelta.
In recent weeks, the community has been overrun by capybaras, who have destroyed manicured lawns, bitten dogs and caused traffic accidents.
“Not only are they destroying the gardens, but their droppings have also become a problem,” a local resident told La Nación daily, complaining that local wildlife officials had banned residents from touching large rodents.
Some residents of Nordelta have reportedly responded by pulling out their shotguns, but many other Argentines have taken to social media to defend rodents – known locally as carpinchos.
In a politically polarized Argentina, progressive Peronists see Nordelta as the enclave of an upper class eager to exclude the common people – and with the tongue only partially in the cheek, some have portrayed the capybaras as a rodent vanguard. of the class struggle.
“My total support for the Peronist carpinchos of Nordelta in convalescence
their habitat “, tweeted an internet joke.
Adult capybaras can grow up to one meter in length, stand over 60cm (24 inches), and weigh up to 60 kilograms (132 lbs). They are naturally gregarious and live in groups of 10 to 20 individuals.
Prominent environmentalist Enrique Viale said it was a mistake to portray the influx of rodents as an invasion. “It’s the other way around: Nordelta has invaded the carpinchos ecosystem,” said Viale, who has campaigned with many others for 10 years now for Congress to pass a law to defend wetlands against development.
“Wealthy, government-backed real estate developers must destroy nature in order to sell clients the dream of living in nature – because the people who buy these homes want nature, but without mosquitoes, snakes or carpinchos,” did he declare.
These vast Paraná wetlands stretch from northern Argentina to the Plate River and the Atlantic Ocean, but have been attacked by urban sprawl as well as by the cattle and soy mega-farmers who are in part responsible for the forest fires which destroyed large areas.
“Nordelta is the oversized paradigm of closed communities built on wetlands. The first thing it does is remove the absorbent function of the earth, so when there are extreme weather events, it is the surrounding poorest neighborhoods that end up inundated. As always, it is the poor who end up paying the price.