White Lipped Peccaries
White-lipped and collared peccaries (Tayassu pecari and Pecari tajacu, respectively) are primarily fruit-eating mammals in Neotropical rain forests. Recent studies have shown that their role as fruit predators and disperses affects the biodiversity of certain forest habitats.
The white-lipped peccaries (WLP) are the only rain forest ungulates which form large social herds (50-300 individuals), so their effects on forest habitats can be dramatic. Extirpation of either peccary species from a forest area would undoubtedly cause habitat alterations and additional biodiversity losses.
In 2010, the IUCN and the Instituto Chico Mendes (ICMBio), the Federal Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, and the official assessor of species red listing for the Brazilian Ministry of Environment evaluated the status of the Tayassuidae (peccaries) in each Brazilian biome. The white-lipped peccary was the only species that received a Critically Endangered classification for the Atlantic forest. In the endangered Cerrado ecosystem, the species was classified as Endangered, and for the country as a whole, it was classified as Vulnerable. Conservation efforts targeting WLP populations will benefit regional biodiversity, because the species is wide-ranging, uses a diversity of habitats, is vulnerable to human alterations of the landscape, and plays important ecological role as environmental engineers (strongly affecting forest soils and plant communities), and as prey of puma and jaguar.