|Scientific Name:||Tayassu pecari|
|Species Authority:||(Link, 1795)|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Near Threatened ver 3.1|
|Assessor/s:||Reyna-Hurtado, R., Taber, A., Altrichter, M., Fragoso, J., Keuroghlian, A. & Beck, H.|
|Reviewer/s:||Leus, K. & Oliver, W. ( Pig, Peccary & Hippo Red List Authority)|
Listed as Near Threatened because this species is probably in significant decline (but probably at a rate of less than 30% over three generations) because of widespread habitat loss and over-hunting through much of its range, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criteria A3cd+4cd.
|Range Description:||White-lipped peccaries are confined to the Neotropical Region, from south-eastern Mexico in the north, through Central America and northern and central South America, as far south as Entre Rios in northern Argentina and Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil (Sowls 1997). Tayassu pecari was introduced to Cuba in 1930 (Mayer and Wetzel 1987), but is no longer found in the wild there. It is presumed to be extirpated from El Salvador and its range has been reduced significantly in Mexico and Central America in the last 20 years (Leopold 1959, Reyna-Hurtado 2007, Taber et al. in prep.).|
Native:Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; Venezuela
Regionally extinct:El Salvador
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||White-lipped peccary densities vary across their distribution in different habitats. Keuroghlian et al. (2004) and Cullen (1997), both working in southern Brazil, found density estimates between 3.9 and 10.2 individuals/km² in tropical forest fragments. Fragoso (1998a, 1998b, 1999), studying a WLP population in the northern Brazilian Amazon, in Roraima State, reported densities declining from 139-542 individuals/km² in 1988 to 1.4-8.3 individuals/km² in 1992 after a population crash probably due to an epizootic (Fragoso 2004). Desbiez (2007) in the Brazilian Pantanal found peccary density estimates in forested and open cerrado habitats of 13.7 and 3.0 individuals/km², respectively. Lower densities have been found in dry forests. Altrichter (2005) found White-lipped peccary densities in the Argentine Gran Chaco dry forest to be 0.33 individuals/km² in hunted sites and 1.04 individuals/km² in non-hunted sites; while Reyna-Hurtado (2007) found similar densities of 0.43 individuals/km² in the semi-dry forest of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. White-lipped peccary densities decline rapidly under hunting pressure, and can be completely absent from heavily hunted areas (Peres 1996, Peres and Lake 2003).|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
Some 60% of this species? distribution is in humid tropical forests. However, they are found in a wide diversity of habitats including wet and dry grasslands and woodlands, xerophitic areas like the Gran Chaco, tropical dry forests, and coastal mangroves (Wetzel and Lovett 1974, Mayer and Brandt 1982, Vaughan 1983, Sowls 1984, Altrichter and Boaglio 2004, Taber et al. 2008). They range altitudinally from sea level to over 1,900 m on the eastern slopes of the Andes. White-lipped peccaries tend to frequent areas close to water and may even visit coastal beaches to forage. While being omnivores, they tend to be strongly frugivorous (Husson 1978, Kiltie 1981, Beck 2005, Keuroghlian and Eaton 2008). Their diet is comprised mostly of fruits, seeds and roots, but they also take invertebrates, small vertebrates, fungi and carrion. Beck (2006) determined that White-lipped peccaries fed on 144 plant species belonging to 36 families. This species plays an important role in the ecology of Neotropical forests as a major predator and disperser of seeds (Altrichter et al 1999, Beck 2005, Desbiez 2007, Keuroghlian and Eaton 2008).
A number of radio-telemetry based range size estimates are now available from a diversity of habitats across this species? distribution. In Costa Rica, herds in tropical moist forest were found to have a mean home range size of 2,145 ha (Sáenz and Carrillo, 1999), while another study reported annual ranges of 3,200?3,780 ha (100 % MCP) (Carrillo et al., 2002). Fragoso (2004) estimated home ranges of from 2,180 ha to 20,000 ha (100%MCP) for groups monitored over several years in moist forest in Maraca Island in Roraima state Brazil. Keuroghlian et al. (2004) estimated average home ranges of 1879 ha (95 % MCP) in fragmented semi-deciduous Atlantic Forest in southern Brazil. Reyna-Hurtado (2007) found annual herd home ranges from 4,360 ha to 12,100 ha (100 %) in tropical semi-dry forest in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Southern Mexico. All home range estimates are based on 100 % or 95% minimum convex polygons. In some studies ranges of adjoining groups overlapped minimally, while in other cases there were large range overlaps. Older studies, not based on radio-tracking, which suggested that their movements were migratory or even nomadic (Bodmer 1990; Mendez 1970; Kiltie and Terborgh 1983; Barreto and Hernández 1988) are not backed by the recent work described above except for in areas undergoing rapid habitat fragmentation and destruction (e.g., Altrichter 2005). The consensus is that White-lipped peccaries are clearly wide-ranging and require large areas for survival (Altrichter and Almeida 2002, Keuroghlian et al. 2004, Reyna-Hurtado 2007). Their movements respond in part to changes in the availability of fruit patches and water sources (Kiltie and Terborgh 1983; Mendez 1970; Sowls 1984, Bodmer 1990; Altrichter et al. 2001, Beck 2005, Reyna-Hurtado 2007, Keuroghlian and Eaton 2008, Keuroghlian and Eaton, in press).
White-lipped peccary herds often exceed 100 individuals, though groups of as few as 5 to more than 200 individuals have also been observed (Kiltie and Terborgh 1983; Donkin 1985; Mayer and Brandt 1987; Fragoso 2004; Reyna-Hurtado 2007). In certain seasons in some areas, large herds divide into smaller groups according to the distribution and abundance of food, although the more frequent reporting of smaller groups in some areas is probably correlated with increased hunting pressure. Group sizes in hunted areas adjacent to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Mexico were smaller (Median=16, SE=1.84, n=15) than these living inside the reserve where no hunting is allowed (Median=25, SE=1.84 n=9, Reyna-Hurtado 2007). Keuroghlian et al. 2004 observed that a population of 150 White-lipped peccaries in fragmented area of Atlantic Forest periodically divided into 3?4 sub-herds with an average of 42 individuals each. They also observed a high frequency of switching of individuals among sub-herds and documented periodic sub-herd fusion. Switching of individuals has also been observed in a current long term radio telemetry study in the Pantanal of Brazil (A. Keuroghlian pers. comm.). However, Reyna-Hurtado (2007) observed high fidelity of individuals to their respective groups during an 18 months study in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Southern Mexico.
Widespread and increasing deforestation and intense hunting pressure are the main causes for the increasing diminution and extinction of many populations of this species. Owing to their habit of forming large herds, White-lipped peccaries require extensive and contiguous areas of habitat to obtain sufficient resources throughout the year. Hunting pressure by landless squatters and poachers has also contributed to local extinctions of the most conspicuous White-lipped peccary herds in many Neotropical forest fragments (Cullen, Bodmer and Valladares-Padua, 2001). The loss and fragmentation of their habitat also exposes them to increased hunting pressure by facilitating their location by human hunters, who can kill many individuals in a large herd during a single encounter (Peres 1996; Reyna-Hurtado 2007). In most range countries, the progressive destruction of habitat for agriculture and cattle ranching, as well as timber extraction, has already accounted for much of the species' former habitat (Altrichter and Boaglio 2004, Taber et al. in prep.). As of 2005, large populations of White-lipped peccaries persisted only in 21 % of its historic range (Taber et al. in prep.). One example is the seasonal Planalto region of the Atlantic Forest in southeastern Brazil that historically covered the inland plateau west of the coastal mountains (Cullen, Bodmer, and Valladares-Padua, 2000; Ditt 2002). Today, only 2% (approximately 2,800 km²) of the Planalto forest remains in small forest fragments (mostly <10 km²) in an agriculturally dominated landscape (Ditt, 2002).
The Collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) and White-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) are important resources for subsistence hunters in the Peruvian Amazon, as elsewhere in the Amazon basin (Bodmer et al. 2004a). In Peru, subsistence hunting of peccaries is permitted and is legally defined as the use of peccary meat for household consumption or the sale of peccary meat in settlements of fewer than 3,000 inhabitants. Rural inhabitants hunt peccaries mainly for their meat, which has an economic value of approximately $23 for a Collared peccary and $30 for a White-lipped peccary either for subsistence food or sale (Bodmer et al. 2004b). Peccary pelts are sold as a by-product and have an economic value to hunters of approximately $5 for a Collared peccary pelt and $3 for a White-lipped peccary pelt (Bodmer and Pezo 2001, Fang 2003). The only country with CITES permit to export White-lipped peccary pelts for the hide trade is Peru where from 1997 to 2008 a quota of between 35,500 and 44,300 skins and leather products has been granted annually (CITES, Database-2008; www.cites.org). The pelts are tanned in Peru and sold to the European leather industry for the manufacture of high quality shoes and gloves, with the latter retailing for as much as $200 a pair. However, this activity should be careful controlled because of potential risks to White-lipped peccaries given that population monitoring methods are problematic. Also, since some pelts are rejected because of scars, parasite marks (e.g., bot flies), or bullet holes, this raises the question as to how many individuals are killed in total to obtain pelts that meet the required quality standards for international trading? Other South American countries such as Argentina and Bolivia are exploring plans for the international commercialization of peccary pelts under CITES. Detailed surveys of the subsistence and commercial use of this species on national scales have not been undertaken in other South American range countries except Argentina (Altrichter, 2005).
At the southern and northern extremes of this species? distribution its status is of particular concern. In the Argentine Chaco, Altrichter (2005) found that hunting of White-lipped peccary was not sustainable because density of this species was three times lower in areas closer to villages than in protected areas, hunters did not discriminate between age and sex, and more than 40 % of the population?s production is being harvested. Here the population size was estimated to be at 60 % of the carrying capacity (Altrichter 2005). Threats to the species in Mesoamerica (tropical Mexico and Central America) include hunting and habitat reduction as well as un-managed legal sport hunting in a couple of Mexican States (Campeche and Quintana Roo; Reyna-Hurtado 2007). Overall in Mesoamerica this species? situation is alarming due to rapid population decline over the last 20 years. In Mexico this species has been extirpated from Veracruz, Tabasco, Yucatan and survive only in a few populations on the largest reserves and a few large communal forests where the species is under strong hunting pressure (Reyna-Hurtado 2007). A similar pattern has occurred for almost all the Central America countries where the species is now confined to the few large tropical forest reserves (Taber et al. in prep). Even in the Amazon, hunting can either deplete or completely remove this species from suitable, undisturbed habitat within the hunting range of even small human communities (Peres 1996). Peres and Lake (2003) estimate that only 57.2% of the Brazilian Amazon is both forested and more than 9 km from access points. It can therefore be assumed that hunting must have a significant impact on the numbers, though it is not be easy to determine what this is numerically.
Another issue of concern for the species is strong evidence of periodic population crashes in white-lipped peccaries which seem density dependent and are most likely due to an epizootic event (Fragoso 2004). This is a particular cause of concern due to this species increasingly fragmented distribution. One risk is that isolated populations that crash may have difficulties recovering since they would be cut off from dispersal from potential source population areas.
Across the range of the species as a whole, an estimate of habitat loss of roughly 1% per year seems reasonable. This is the approximate rate of forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon. It will be lower in some places (i.e., Guyanas, western Amazon) and higher in others (e.g., Pantanal, Chaco, Cerrado), so 1% per year is in the middle of the range. It is assumed that remaining populations in Mesoamerica and the Atlantic forest are now too small to have much impact on the global listing. To estimate the global rate of decline needed for its Red List assessment, the effects of hunting need to be factored in on top of the decline due to habitat loss. Using the Peres and Lake's (2003) estimate that only 57.2% of the Brazilian Amazon is both forested and more than 9 km from access points, it is assumed that hunting must have a significant impact on the numbers, though it is not easy to determine what this is numerically. In this assessment, an assumption is made, to be tested with future data over the coming years, that the aggregate rate of decline over three generations (18 years) is >18% (due to habitat loss alone) and <30% (which would put the species in Vulnerable and require some stronger evidence than is currently available).
This species occurs in numerous protected areas throughout its extensive range, though it is uncertain whether the existing network of reserves is adequate to ensure the survival of representative populations of sufficient size to maintain viable populations in all major habitat types in its distribution (Taber et al. in prep). It is also doubtful if most reserves are large enough to allow the formation of large herds of this species, or that there is sufficient connectivity between reserves to permit recovery when epizootic events or population crashes for other reasons occur. This is of particular concern in Central America (March 1993).
Peccary pelts were exported from many central and South American countries during the first half of the 20th century prior to the implementation of CITES in 1973. During the 1960's and 70's many countries began to prohibit the export of peccary pelts and in 1986 Collared and White-lipped peccaries were placed on Appendix II of CITES. Peru is currently the only range state that permits legal export of peccary pelts, and hides can only be exported if they originate from subsistence hunters living in the Amazonian region. Other countries, including Bolivia and Argentina, are exploring prospects for developing a managed commercial harvest of peccary hides for export. Such an expanded ?legal? harvest will need to be carefully monitored since it risks inadvertently promoting illegal commercial use of the species through expanding the market and hence demands for skins and other peccary products.
White-lipped peccaries are widely maintained in captivity in their countries of origin, but very rarely elsewhere, mainly because of the stringent veterinary restrictions placed on the movement of live animals into countries with significant domestic pork industry.
Research on the management, conservation, ecology, and biology has expanded in recent years (e.g., see bibliography below). A range wide status assessment on this species has been completed, based on a workshop held in 2005, where historical and current status and distribution data were compared and main threats and population status was determined (Taber et al. in prep.). However, research, management and monitoring capacity is lacking in many of the range countries. Capacity building of conservation biologists, local and national government technicians, and community para-technicians is a high priority for the species. There is also a need for a review of national and local government policy and regulations for this species across its range.
|Citation:||Reyna-Hurtado, R., Taber, A., Altrichter, M., Fragoso, J., Keuroghlian, A. & Beck, H. 2008. Tayassu pecari. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 May 2013.|
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