White-lipped peccaries have been extirpated from 89% of their range in Costa Rica, 84% of their range in Guatemala and México, 66% in Nicaragua, 57% in Belize, 56% in Honduras, and have been driven extinct in El Salvador.
Growing evidence suggests a rapid and precipitous decline of white-lipped peccaries in Mesoamerica. The species requires large forest tracts for feeding and seasonal migrations. Yet habitat loss and fragmentation for cattle ranching, oil palm, and other agriculture, plus road building have restricted white-lipped peccaries to only a handful of Mesoamerica's largest and most intact wildernesses.
Hunting has also contributed to white-lipped peccary declines, as large numbers of peccaries are frequently massacred at one time—especially during the dry season when they congregate at water holes. White-lipped peccary meat is used for local consumption, but is also prized in illicit markets and targeted by sport and market hunters.
There is an urgent demand for conservation action. WCS is focusing in particular on conserving Mesoamerica's largest, last wild places—the strongholds with potential to maintain viable populations of white-lipped peccaries. The delicate status of the species warrants a re-examination of the norms regulating sport and subsistence hunting, and how the impacts of both types of offtake might be moderated.
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