Humans continue to illegally hunt Pteronura brasiliensis for pelts. Indigenous groups use the meat and pelt of P. brasiliensis. It is controlled as a pest as its ravenous appetite is often blamed by logging and mining workers for a lack of fish/protein available in some south American river systems.
Pteronura brasiliensis is considered as "Vulnerable" by the IUCN. CITES lists the species as "Appendix 1.