The giant earthworm, Rhinodrilus alatus (Righi 1971), has been captured in the southeastern Brazilian Cerrado biome for approximately 80 years and used as bait for amateur fishing throughout Brazil. Local knowledge and traditional extraction practices are crucial for the establishment of management strategies for the species because, although its extraction involves conflicts and social and environmental impacts, the species is one of the major sources of income for approximately 3,000 people, especially for members of an Afro-descendant community that has approximately 2,000 inhabitants. Participatory tools, such as seasonal calendar, transect walks and participatory maps, were individually or collectively used with extractors and traders (former extractors), and 129 semi-structured and unstructured interviews were conducted with the same individuals between 2005 and 2012. The capture of Rhinodrilus alatus was observed in different seasons and areas of occurrence of the species in 17 municipalities, where this giant earthworm is the only species extracted for trade. All information obtained was verified by community members in 17 meetings. The extractors have an extensive knowledge of the life history, behavior, distribution, and possible impacts of climate change on the species. Different capture techniques, which have different impacts, are used during the dry and rainy seasons and are passed by the extractors through the generations. Local knowledge contributed to the establishment of agreements for the use of capture techniques that have less impact, to the expansion of scientific knowledge and the reassessment of the conservation status of Rhinodrilus alatus. The present study may serve as an example for management projects for other giant earthworm species in other regions of Brazil and in other countries.