Target: Costa Rica Minister of Environment and Energy, René Castro, Mexico Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Juan José Guerra Abud, Guatemala Vice-minister of Natural Resources, Jose Miguel Leiva Perez
Goal: Implement conservation plans to save the White-lipped Peccary from extinction.
In an update of the International Union of the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ Red List, the White-lipped Peccary, a large hoglike animal, was listed among species in major decline, according to a global assessment. The study found that populations of these highly social forest-dwelling ungulates have decreased by 89 percent in Costa Rica and 84 percent in Mexico and Guatemala. White-lipped Peccaries are already locally extinct in El Salvador and Paraguay.
The White-lipped Peccary plays an important ecological role in maintaining biodiversity as a seed disperser and as a primary prey species of jaguars and pumas. Because they live in such large herds and in large areas, White-lipped Peccaries are considered good indicators of ecosystem health.
White-lipped Peccaries often roam in herds of over 100 individuals, depending on food distribution, from tropical rain forests and dry forests to dry woodland and grassland areas. Roaming in large herds provides these animals with protection, but inadequate forest reserves have reduced herd size and hindered population recovery. Without intensified conservation efforts, these animals have a low probability of long-term survival.
These unique herd animals are severely threatened by hunting and habitat loss. Much of the White-lipped Peccary’s habitat has been cleared for cattle ranching, agriculture, and timber extraction. The destruction of their natural range exposes White-lipped Peccaries to increased hunting pressure. Indiscriminately hunting these animals while their populations and herd sizes are in steady decline is not a sustainable practice.
Please sign this petition to urge Central American governments to increase efforts to conserve this rare species.
Dear René Castro, Juan José Guerra Abud, and Jose Miguel Leiva Perez,
The beautiful Central American country that you represent contains the most amazing land contrasts and biodiversity in the world. The citizens of your nation deserve to have the opportunity to experience the wealth of benefits from the preservation of natural resources, including the unique wildlife found in this region. I urge you to take measures to improve the conservation of an increasingly rare animal, the White-lipped Peccary.
White-lipped Peccaries are important species to conserve because they are excellent indicators of ecosystem health. As omnivorous animals, White-lipped Peccaries play an important role in balancing the ecosystem. They eat mainly fruits and nuts and act as seed dispersers, and they also serve as important prey to large predators including jaguars and pumas. These animals are very unique in that they are the only highly social ungulates that strongly bond and roam with a herd. Unfortunately their herding behaviors have been disrupted by habitat destruction and this effect has amplified their vulnerability to increased hunting pressures. Losses of this animal degrades the threatened ecosystem and contributes to the decline of many other species in this imperiled habitat.
Please orient the policies of your natural resource management to strengthen the protection of endangered species and their vulnerable habitat. By reducing the loss of forests, you can provide adequate reserves for the remaining herds of White-lipped Peccaries and other animals depending on large expanses of land. Improving monitoring and research capacity will also aid in the conservation of this species by providing important information about its populations and range. Increasing public awareness efforts through education outreach that discourages hunting and engages local villages to report sightings will improve the lives of the people as they become involved in the conservation of their precious resources.
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