tiktoker Agenor with his wild animals (capybara, bird and pig)

Filó The Capybara Controversy

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Updated May 02, 2023 at 05:40AM EDT by Rebecca Rhodes.

Added May 01, 2023 at 02:08PM EDT by Mateus.

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Filó The Capybara Controversy refers to a case in which Brazilian farmer and TikTok influencer Agenor Tupinambá, who was charged on suspicion of abuse, mistreatment and animal exploitation of a Capybara named Filó. On April 2023, the case of the capybara Filó divided opinions on social media, as the Brazilian government institution responsible for animal protection Ibama determined the farmer had to send the animal to be reintroduced to his original environment. After a great mobilization, on and off the internet, the Brazilian Judiciary System determined on April 30th that the TikToker should have provisional guardianship of Filó.


Agenor Tupinambá Viral TikTok Video With Filó

On February 4th, 2023, the Brazilian TikToker[1] @agenor.tupinamba shared a video showing his life with a pet capybara named Filó. The video has since been deleted from his account, but YouTube[2] channel RazoesAcreditar reposted the video on February 9th, 2023, garnering 20,000 views and 20,000 likes in two months (seen below).

The video was widely spread across social media and local news also commented about the farmer's relationship with the capybara. Before posting the video, Agenor had around 30,000 followers and now has 2.1 million on Instagram, as well as rising from 500,000 to 1.8 million followers on TikTok (as of May 1st, 2023).

2023 Ibama Investigation

On April 18th, 2023, Agenor Tupinambá was fined by Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) for more than R$ 17,000 (5.400 USD) on suspicion of abuse, mistreatment and animal exploitation. The influencer was also notified he must remove all publications on social media he made with the wild animals and was ordered to hand over Filó to the authorities.

A few days later, on April 27th, 2023, Agenor delivered the animal to the authorities. A video showing the moment was posted by @joanadarc_am on TikTok[3] (seen below), which garnered 7.5 million plays and 730,000 likes in three days.

@joanadarc_am Capivara Filó sendo entregue 😭😞💔 @Agenor Tupinambá #filó #agenor #capivara #capivarafilo #animal #capivaras ♬ som original – Joana Darc

On April 30th, 2023, the capybara Filó was returned[4] to influencer Agenor Tupinambá, following a decision by the Federal Court of Amazonas, Brazil.

Online Reactions

The government's decision to retrieve the animal became a trending topic on Twitter, diving users on if the farmer should keep the wild animal or not. For example, on April 29th, 2023, Twitter[5] user @choquei posted a video of a group of the influencer's supporters after it was announced that the capybara was being returned to him. The post (seen below) garnered 1.6 million views and 13,900 likes in two days.

Due to the high publicity the case received by the media, some on social media grew tired of controversy and began to share ironic memes mocking the capybara. For instance, Twitter[6] user @amnsts0 shared a video of a dog balancing a plastic cup on its head with the caption "If you drop the cup, you'll have to read more fucking capybara news." The post garnered 5,700 likes and 1,700 retweets in two days (seen below).

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