The History of Chinchillas
Chinchillas were first discovered by the Spanish conquestadors in 1524 when they explored South America. They are native to the Andes Mountains of Argentina, Peru, Chile and Bolivia. By the 1920’s they were almost hunted to extinction for their fur. In the early 1920’s South American governments passed laws banning the hunting of chinchillas. Today wild chinchillas can only be found high in the Andes mountains.
In 1923 Mathias Chapman took 11 chinchillas to the United States and established a breeding colony in California. All pet chinchillas can be traced back to this colony.
Breeding chinchillas for their fur became big business. Unfortunately this disgusting practice still occurs today. It was even tried in South Africa but luckily never really took hold here. Today chinchillas in South Africa and most of the world are mainly kept as pets.