White-lipped peccary conservation within and outside Amazonian extractive reserves, Brazil

Hugo Cardoso de Moura Costa

Large herbivore species are facing dramatic population declines and range contractions, which induce a huge loss of vital ecosystem functions. White-lipped peccaries (WLP) form the largest group biomass of any Neotropical vertebrate, exploit high-density resource patches, and as such represent critical landscape species integrating vast heterogeneous forest mosaics, both in terms of baseline productivity and hunting pressure. Yet they have never been studied in lowland Amazonian forests and continue to be decimated by unsustainable hunting practiced by thousands of local indigenous and non-tribal semi-subsistence communities. They are, therefore, arguably the highest priority in game management ecology among all Neotropical forest vertebrates. Furthermore, WLPs are virtually extinct at a regional scale in Mesoamerica and Atlantic Forest; thus, they are an excellent model to understand the effects of over-hunting at a broad scale, due their high ecology importance and sensitivity to hunting pressure. This project aims to study the spatial dynamics and habitat requirements of large herds of WLPs, and asses their population status within and outside Amazonian Extractive Reserves to develop a community-based model of landscape-scale sustainable hunting practices to reduce the impacts of over-hunting on ecosystems services provided by large mammals, thereby increasing the conservation performance of Amazonian sustainable-use reserves.