White-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) are incredibly important forces in lowland tropical Amazonian forest acting as key seed predators and ecological engineers and traveling in herds of well over 200 animals. Their ecological importance is mirrored in their importance for local indigenous people as one of their main sources of protein within the framework of subsistence hunting.
According to hunting records in five communities in the Tacana Indigenous Territory, white-lipped peccary is the species that provides most biomass (kilograms of meat) of the 16 most hunted species, underlining their importance to the subsistence of rural communities.
Between 2000 and 2006, WCS conducted 6 surveys covering a total of 1,451 km of line transects in forest along the Tuichi, Quendeque, Alto Madidi, Hondo, Heath, Undumo and Tequeje rivers. The abundance rates of white-lipped peccary in these locations are some of the highest recorded for Bolivia and the continent, especially in the Hondo river area where the estimated density was 10,74 individuals/km2.
To learn more about habitat use, areas of action and movements of white-lipped peccaries, radio-telemetry studies were conducted in the Hondo River (within the Madidi protected area). By installing enclosures around salt licks, which are places of concentration of wildlife in the rainforest, 18 white-lipped pecaries (belonging to 4 different groups) were captured and fitted with radio transmitters. With the help of towers installed on emergent trees of the forest, we were able to follow white-lipped peccaries for three years. The areas of action of the white-lipped peccaries varied between 33 and 100km2, and animals made long movements of up to 25 km per day, showing preference for habitats with abundant palm trees.