Three female chinchillas live here at the Zoo. All three are from South America, hence their names: Gina from Argentina, Olivia from Bolivia and Millie from Chile!
Status in the wild
Listed as vulnerable. Chinchillas have been hunted for human apparel since the early 1990s. Their pelts have been considered particularly valuable and coats have sold for up to $100,000. Hunting continues in remote areas, however, enforcements have been established to protect chinchillas in their natural habitat.
The long-tailed chinchilla is native to the Northern Chilean Andes. Their preferred habitat is barren, rocky, mountainous areas at around 10,000 to 15,000 feet.
Chinchillas are primarily folivorous (feeding on many types of vegetation) especially grass and seeds. They also eat insects and bird eggs occasionally.