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3.7 Mammals

There is a great wealth of ecological diversity and species in the Mammalia class in Latin America (91, 92, 275, 361). Mammals provide most of the food from game animals (Tables 6, 10 and 11) and a good part of the skins and hides from commercial hunting (Tables 16 and 17).

The most valuable in resource terms are the edentates, the primates, the carnivores, Sirenia, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, Rodentia and Lagomorpha. Representative species of these orders will be documented below.

Of the remaining orders, Didelphis species of the order Marsupialia are of some local importance for food (130, 258, 336), and for fur in southern South America (Table 18). The order of insectivores, unusable as a resource, is represented by the true shrews (Family Soricidae) in parts of Central America and in northernmost South America. The order of Chiroptera (bats) is highly diversified with 190 species in South America, and though highly important ecologically, is unusable as a resource. Lastly, the order of Cetaceans, including whales and dolphins, is classified as a marine resource and therefore is not covered in this study.

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