As early as the 1600s. Chinchillas were discovered then by the Spanish conquistadors and were prized for their pelts. They are found on the Western side of the Andes.
The Europeans trapped these animals and led the species to near extinction. Coats made out of their fur were very popular with nobles and very costly. They were brought to North America in the 1920s to be bred in captivity and flourish in the fur trade.
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