Spatial Ecology of a Large and Endangered Tropical Mammal: The White-Lipped Peccary in Darién, Panama

  • Ninon F. V. Meyer
  • Ricardo Moreno
  • Miguel Angel Martínez-Morales
  • Rafael Reyna-Hurtado


Large mammals are negatively affected by habitat loss, fragmentation, and hunting. Thus, many of them are nowadays in urgent need of conservation actions to decrease their risk of extinction. Examining space use of large mammals by integrating empirical data and modeling is a primary prerequisite both for basic ecological understanding and for effective conservation planning. In this study, we investigated the basic spatial ecology of the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), a keystone ungulate species in the Neotropics. Specifically, we examined the home range and habitat use of the species in the Darién, Panama, which constitutes one of the last remaining strongholds for the species in Mesoamerica. In May and July 2016, we fitted GPS collars on two white-lipped peccaries from different herds and monitored them during 15 months and 1 month. The two herds used an area covered by mature forest and did not venture into disturbed areas during the time we monitored them. Both herds displayed home ranging behavior, and their estimated home range sizes were 58 km2 and 25 km2. The herd that was followed during 15 months showed little difference between seasonal home ranges, suggesting that the forest of Darién provided enough resources throughout the year for the herd to remain in the same area. Based on this study and other research in Panama, we consider that the white-lipped peccary population in Darién is healthy contrasting with many other sites in the country. Management actions need to address both the hunting pressure and the protection of large continuous tracts of undisturbed forests to guarantee the persistence of the species in Panama.


Tayassu pecari Autocorrelated kernel density estimation White-lipped peccary Darien National Park 



We thank the Secretaria Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación de Panamá (SENACYT proyecto FID 14-145), the Rufford Foundation, IDEA WILD, GEMAS/Fondo Darién, Fundación Natura, D. Anderson from Cat Haven, N. Correa from Asociación Panamericana para la Conservación, A. Perez from Green Rainforest, and R. Morales for funding, equipment, and logistics, especially A. Lu and L. Hernandez. We are extremely grateful to our guides from Pijibasal A. Chami, T. Contreras, U. Contreras, M. Manyoma, and C. Contreras; our wildlife veterinarian L. Pretelt, as well as A. Artavia and E. Sanchez for assistance during the captures. Thanks to the Ministry of Environment of Panama and C. Sanchez, director of the Darién NP, for permits; the game wardens at Rancho Frio, N. Correa, Y. Yanguez, and people of Pijibasal for housing and welcoming us. R. Kays and J. Signer provided valuable advice about the analysis. NM received a scholarship from the Consejo Nacional para la Ciencia y Tecnología de México (scholar # 576309). Data were uploaded on Movebank (


  1. Akaike H (1974) A new look at the statistical model identification. IEEE Trans Autom Control 19:716–723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altrichter M, Taber A, Beck H et al (2012) Range-wide declines of a key Neotropical ecosystem architect, the Near Threatened white-lipped peccary Tayassu pecari. Oryx 46:87–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beck A (2006) A review of peccary-pal interactions and their ecological ramifications across the Neotropics. J Mammal 87:519–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calabrese JM, Fleming CH, Gurarie E (2016) ctmm: an R package for analyzing animal relocation data as a continuous-time stochastic process. Methods Ecol Evol 7:1124–1132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carrillo E, Saenz JC, Fuller T (2002) Movements and activities of white-lipped peccaries in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. Biol Conserv 108(3):317–324. Scholar
  6. Cushman SA, McRae B, Adriaensen F, Beier P, Shirley M, Zeller K (2013) Biological corridors and connectivity. In: Macdonald DW, Willis KJ (eds) Key topics in conservation biology 2. John Wiley and Sons, Oxford. Scholar
  7. De Almeida Jácomo AT, Furtado MM, Kashivakua CK et al (2013) White-lipped peccary home-range size in a protected area and farmland in the central Brazilian grasslands. J Mammal 94:137–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Enders RK (1935) Mammalian life histories from Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Bull Mus Comp Zool 78:383–502Google Scholar
  9. Fleming CH, Calabrese JM (2015) ctmm: Continuous-time movement modeling. R package version 0.4.1Google Scholar
  10. Fleming CH, Calabrese JM, Mueller T et al (2014) From fine-scale foraging to home ranges: a semivariance approach to identifying movement modes across spatiotemporal scales. Am Nat 183:154–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fleming CH, Fagan WF, Mueller T, Olson KA, Leimgruber P, Calabrese JM (2015) Rigorous home range estimation with movement data: a new autocorrelated kernel density estimator. Ecology 96:1182–1188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Foerster R, Vaughan C (2002) Home range, habitat use, and activity of Baird’s Tapir in Costa Rica. Biotropica 34:345–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fragoso JMV (1998) Home range and movement patterns of white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) herds in the Northern Brazilian Amazon. Biotropica 30:458–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Glanz WE (1982) The terrestrial mammal fauna of Barro Colorado Island: censuses and long-term changes. In: Leigh EG, Rand AS, Windsor DM (eds) The ecology of a tropical forest: seasonal rhythms and long-term changes. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldman EA (1920) Mammals of Panama (with thirty-nine plates). Smithson Misc Collect 69:5. Scholar
  16. Hofman M, Signer J, Hayward MW et al (2016) Spatial ecology of a herd of white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) in Belize using GPS telemetry: challenges and preliminary results. Therya 7:21–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kays R, Crofoot MC, Jetz W, Wikelski M (2015) Terrestrial animal tracking as an eye on life and planet. Science 348:aaa2478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keuroghlian A, Eaton DP, Longland WS (2004) Area use by white-lipped and collared peccaries (Tayassu pecari and Tayassu tajacu) in a tropical forest fragment. Biol Conserv 120:411–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Keuroghlian A, Andrade Santos MC, Eaton DP (2014) The effects of deforestation on white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) home range in the southern Pantanal. Mammalia.
  20. Kiltie RA, Terborgh J (1983) Observations on the behavior of rain forest peccaries in Peru: why do white-lipped peccaries form herds? Z Tierpsychol 62:241–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Laurance WF, Croes BM, Tchignoumba L et al (2006) Impacts of roads and hunting on central African rainforest mammals. Conserv Biol 20:1251–1261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meyer NFV, Esser HJ, Moreno R et al (2015) An assessment of the terrestrial mamma communities in forests of Central Panama using camera-trap surveys. J Nat Conserv 26:28–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Meyer NFV, Moreno R, Sanches E et al (2016) Do protected areas in Panama support intact assemblages of ungulates? Therya 7:65–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ministerio de Ambiente de Panamá (2016) Resolución N. DM-0657-2016. Gaceta Oficial Digital, jueves 29 de diciembre de 2016, N. 28187-AGoogle Scholar
  25. Moreira Ramírez JF (2017) Movimientos del pecarí de labios blancos en relación con la disponibilidad de agua y cacería en la Selva Maya de Guatemala y México. Tesis de Doctorado, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, MexicoGoogle Scholar
  26. Moreno R (2006) Parámetros poblacionales y aspectos ecológicos de los felinos y sus presas en Cana, Parque Nacional Darién, Panamá. Tesis de Maestría. Heredia, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  27. Moreno R, Meyer NFV (2014) Distribution and conservation status of the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) in Panama. Suiform Soundings 13:32–35Google Scholar
  28. Nathan R, Getz WM, Revilla E et al (2008) A movement ecology paradigm for unifying organismal movement research. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1051:9052–19059Google Scholar
  29. Pardini R, de Arruda Bueno A, Gardner TA et al (2010) Beyond the fragmentation threshold hypothesis: regime shifts in biodiversity across fragmented landscapes. PLoS One 5(10):e13666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Reyna-Hurtado R, Rojas-Flores E, Tanner GW (2009) Home range and habitat preferences of white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) in Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico. J Mammal 90:1199–1209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Reyna-Hurtado R, Naranjo E, Chapman CA, Tanner GW (2010) Hunting and the conservation of a social ungulate: the white-lipped peccary Tayassu pecari in the Calakmul, Mexico. Oryx 44:88–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Reyna-Hurtado R, Chapman CA, Calme S, Pedersen E (2012) Searching in heterogeneous environments: foraging strategies in the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari). J Mammal 93:124–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Reyna-Hurtado R, Beck H, Altrichter M, Chapman CA, Bonnell TR, Keuroghlian A, Desbiez AL, Moreira-Ramirez JF, O’Farrill G, Fragoso J, Naranjo EJ (2016) What ecological and anthropogenic factors affect group size in white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari)? Biotropica 48:246–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Reyna-Hurtado R, Radachowsky J, Mcloughlin L et al (2017) White-lipped peccary in Mesoamerica: status, threats and conservation actions. Suiform Soundings 15:31–35Google Scholar
  35. Ripple WJ, Newsome TM, Wolf C, Dirzo R, Everatt KT, Galetti M, Hayward MW, Kerley GIH, Levi T, Lindsey PA, Macdonald DW, Malhi Y, Painter LE, Sandom CJ, Terborgh J, Van Valkenburgh B (2015) Collapse of the world’s largest herbivores. Sci Adv 1:e1400103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schipper J, Chanson JS, Chiozza F et al (2008) The status of the world’s land and marine mammals: diversity, threat, and knowledge. Science 322:225–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Seaman DE, Powell RA (1990) Identifying patterns and intensity of home range use. Bears Biol Manag 8:243–249Google Scholar
  38. Signer J, Balkenhol N (2015) Reproducible home ranges (rhr): a new, user friendly R package for analyses of wildlife telemetry data. Wildl Soc Bull 39:358–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Signer J, Balkenhol N, Ditmer M, Fieberg J (2015) Does estimator choice influence our ability to detect changes in home range size? Anim Biotelemetry.
  40. Tobler MW, Carillo-Percastegui, Powell G (2009) Habitat use, activity patterns and use of mineral licks by five species of ungulate in south-eastern Peru. J Trop Ecol 25:261–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Urquiza-Haas T, Perez CA, Dolman PM (2011) Large vertebrate responses to forest cover and hunting pressure in communal landholdings and protected areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Anim Conserv 14:271–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Van Beest FM, Rivrud IM, Loe LE et al (2011) What determines variation in home range size across spatiotemporal scales in a large browsing herbivore? J Anim Ecol 80:771–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Webb SD (2006) The Great American Biotic Interchange: patterns and processes. Ann Mo Bot Gard 93:245–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ninon F. V. Meyer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ricardo Moreno
    • 2
  • Miguel Angel Martínez-Morales
    • 3
  • Rafael Reyna-Hurtado
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.El Colegio de la Frontera SurLermaMexico
  2. 2.Fundación Yaguará PanamáCiudad del SaberPanama
  3. 3.El Colegio de la Frontera SurSan Cristobal de las CasasMexico
  4. 4.El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)Department of Biodiversity ConservationLermaMexico
  5. 5.The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)BronxUSA

Personalised recommendations