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versión On-line ISSN 2007-3364


NARANJO, Eduardo J.; AMADOR-ALCALA, Saúl A.; FALCONI-BRIONES, Fredy A.  y  REYNA-HURTADO, Rafael A.. Distribution, abundance and threats to populations of Baird's tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and white-lipped peccary (Tayassu peccary) populations in Mexico. Therya [online]. 2015, vol.6, n.1, pp.227-249. ISSN 2007-3364.


Baird's tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) play important roles in the dynamics of tropical forests where they live through herbivory, seed dispersal, and seed predation. These mammals have constituted relevant food sources for residents of rural communities of Mesoamerica. Both ungulates are listed as endangered species in Mexico´s Official Norm 059 (NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010). Their main threats are habitat loss and poaching throughout their distribution range in Mexico. The central purpose of this study was to assess the population status of Baird´s tapir and the white-lipped peccary in Mexico, proposing a strategy for their conservation.


From November 2010 through November 2012 we did rapid assessments of presence, relative abundance, and threats for Baird´s tapir and white-lipped peccary populations in ten localities across five states of southeastern Mexico. We used three complementary techniques: line transect sampling, camera-trapping, and interviews with inhabitants of rural communities. We analyzed our own data and available information on both focal species in Mexico for generating proposals confirming their status as endangered in the Official Norm 059 by means of the Risk Assessment Method (MER, for its Spanish initials), required by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.


Current verified distribution areas of the white-lipped peccary are located in the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, and Yucatan. Baird's tapir is present in even more localities within the same states excluding Yucatan. Because of their extensive area and good habitat quality, the critical locations for conserving both species in the country are: Calakmul-Balamkú-Balam-Kin (Campeche), Montes Azules-Lacantún (Chiapas), Los Chimalapas (Oaxaca), and Sian Ka'an-forest ejidos of central Quintana Roo. The highest estimates of tapir abundance were recorded in La Fraylescana, Uxpanapa, and Los Chimalapas (sightings and tracks), as well as in Uxpanapa, Selva Lacandona, and Balam-kin (photographs). The highest white-lipped peccary abundances were found in Sian Ka'an and Calakmul (sightings and tracks), as well as in Balam-kin and Calakmul (photographs).

The main threats for conserving both ungulate species in Mexico are deforestation and habitat fragmentation, unregulated hunting, forest fires, and disease transmitted by livestock. Unexpected recent records of the two species in specific localities of Campeche, Veracruz, and Yucatan encourage the continuity and widening of research on the distribution and conservation status of these endangered mammals in southern and southeastern Mexico.

Palabras llave : Abundance; conservation; distribution; Mexico; Tapirus bairdii; Tayassu pecari; threats.

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