Mysterious disappearances of a large mammal in Neotropical forests

J.M.V. Fragoso, A.P. Antunes, M. Altrichter, P. de Araujo Lima Constantino, G. Zapata-Ríos, M. Camino, B. de Thoisy, R.B. Wallace, H.R.E. Bizri, T.Q. Morcatty, P. Mayor, C. Richard-Hansen, M.T. Hallett, R.Á. Reyna-Hurtado, H. Beck, S. de Bustos, R.E. Bodmer, A. Keuroghlian, A. Nava, O.L. MontenegroE.P. Neto, A.L.J. Desbiez, K.M. Silvius

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The drivers of periodic population cycling by some animal species in northern systems remain unresolved1. Mysterious disappearances of populations of the Neotropical, herdforming white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari, henceforth “WLP”) have been anecdotally documented and explained as local events resulting from migratory movements or overhunting2,3,4, or as disease outbreaks5,6, and have not been considered in the context of large-scale species-specific population dynamics. Here we present evidence that WLP disappearances represent troughs in population cycles that occur with regular periodicity and are synchronized at regional and perhaps continent-wide spatial scales. Analysis of 43 disappearance events and 88 years of commercial and subsistence harvesting data reveals boom – bust population cycles lasting from 20 to 30 years, in which a rapid population crash occurring over 1 to 5 years is followed by a period of absence of 7 to12 years and then a slow growth phase. Overhunting alone cannot explain the crashes, but as in northern systems dispersal during the growth phase appears to play a key role. This is the first documentation of population cycling in a tropical vertebrate.
Idioma originalInglés
EstadoPublicada - 2020


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