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Resource availability relative to White-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) populations in a Bolivian tropical forest landscape.
Gottdenker, Nicole *,1, 2, 1 Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Athens, GA2 WCS Bolivia, La Paz, Bolivia
ABSTRACT- White-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) are ecologically and socially important components of Neotropical forests. The objective of this study is to understand patterns of resource availability in relation to white-lipped peccary populations in a Bolivian Amazonian landscape. During peak wet and dry seasons, fruit and seed patches were counted along fixed width transects in five different forest types (sartenejal, Beni alluvial plain, two geographically different tierra firme forests, and piedmont forest) within Madidi National Park and the Tacana Tierra Comunitaria de Origen, La Paz Province, Bolivia. Indices of local abundance and habitat use by white-lipped peccaries were estimated by observation of sign (i.e. peccary tracks) and encounter rates with peccary herds. The overall number of available fruit patches was greatest in tierra firme forests, intermediate in Beni alluvial plain and sartenejal forests, and relatively low in piedmont forest. Preliminary results suggest a positive correlation between the number of available ground fruit/seed patches and local white-lipped peccary abundance. Palms constituted a large proportion (0.53 to 0.98 palm patches/ total number of patches) of available fruit/seed patches in all forest types during wet and dry seasons. Palm fruits and seeds also provided a majority of available ground fruit/seed calories in all habitat types. Members of Palmae and Moraceae were also primary resources in all forest types during the peak dry season. These results suggest that a better understanding of the spatial distribution of lowland tropical forest palms at different scales will allow for predictions of white-lipped peccary foraging behavior, densities, movements, and dynamics. This information is needed to develop effective peccary conservation and management strategies.
Key words: white-lipped peccary, Resource availability, Tayassu pecari, Neotropical forests