If you’ve never heard of the white-lipped peccary, you’ll come away from today’s webinar impressed with the crucial conservation role it holds in Brazil’s threatened tropical forests, serving as a prime indicator of overall ecosystem health. Critically endangered in the Atlantic forest and vulnerable throughout the country, this fruit-eating mammal, distantly related to pigs, is one of three peccary species in the Americas. It is the only rain forest ungulate, however, that forms large social herds, with a dramatic effect on its habitat. Expedition Leader Helder Brandao talks with special guest Alexine Keuroghlian, manager of the Peccary Project for the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Peccary Specialist Group. A key umbrella species, the white-lipped peccary is an ecosystem engineer—and its disappearance from the environment has wide-reaching negative impacts, including loss of predators (such as jaguar and cougar) in protected areas, reduced vegetation diversity, increased rodent populations as more resources (in this case, fruit) become available, and general impoverishment of mammal and bird communities in forests. The extinction of peccaries from native forests leads to rapid biodiversity loss, and it’s thus important to protect them as conservation tools for long-term conservation plans.
Originally presented October 5, 2021
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