White-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 0925644
Because of extensive deforestation and fragmentation of highland cerrado, gene flow and animal migrations between the highlands and flood plain forests (Pantanal) are now more restricted, potentially provoking genetic alterations and local extinctions of flora and fauna populations isolated in forest fragments. We propose to use a landscape species, white-lipped peccaries (WLP), to identify properties that have important ecological corridors, for the WCS Brazil ranch program in the Pantanal/Cerrado highlands. White-lipped peccaries are wide-ranging, fruit-eating ungulates that form large herds in Neotropical forests. The herds strongly affect forest biodiversity via fruit predation and dispersal, and WLPs are important prey for jaguar and humans. Throughout its range, local extinctions have occurred due to habitat fragmentation and hunting. Conservation efforts targeting landscape species help maintain regional biodiversity and ecological integrity, because species like WLPs use large areas and a diversity of habitats, have significant impacts on ecosystem structure and function, and are vulnerable to human-related environmental threats, like forest loss.
We will determine the status of WLP populations in the increasingly deforested highlands, identify WLP populations where herds are located and record key environmental and socioeconomic characteristics that affect these land fragments and WLP populations (e.g., fragment size and links to other forests, fruit and water resources, protection status of forest area, hunting pressure, and economic conditions on adjacent agricultural lands). Because of their strong impacts on forest environments, the status of WLP populations in the fragments will serve as important indicators of forest health and long-term viability (i.e., healthy WLP populations will be associated with healthy forests).
Project 0925644 location - Brazil, South America