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Decline of peccaries in a protected subtropical forest of Brazil: toward conservation issues

de Azevedo, Fernando Cesar Cascelli, Conforti, Valéria Amorim
Mammalia 2008 v.72 no.2 pp. 82-88
Pecari tajacu, conservation status, forests, interviews, monitoring, national parks, people, traffic, Brazil
While once abundant in the subtropical forest of Iguaçu National Park (INP) in Brazil, white-lipped and collared peccary seem to have declined considerably in the last decade. Basic information on the influence of anthropogenic factors on peccary abundance in INP is scarce. To assess the conservation status of white-lipped and collared peccaries in INP and surrounding areas, we recorded encounter rates from 1997 to 2000 along transects in eight study sites subjected to different levels of illegal hunting and vehicle traffic. The average encounter rate for the eight study sites for collared peccaries was 0.022±0.021 (±SD). Despite our intensive monitoring of transects, no signs of white-lipped peccaries were recorded and this species seemed to be locally extinct. In addition, we analyzed the attitude of local people towards peccaries and INP through interviews. Perceptions of local people were strongly positive towards peccaries and INP and seemed to be influenced by the potential of illegally exploiting peccaries within the limits of INP. Our results suggest that efforts to minimize the intensity of vehicle traffic and illegal hunting should be implemented if remaining collared peccaries are to survive in INP.