Home Range and Habitat Use of a Reintroduced Population of Collared Peccaries in the Llano Uplift Ecoregion of Texas
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The collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) is a medium-sized New World ungulate with a range extending from Argentina northward into southern Arizona, New Mexico, and eastward to central Texas. The collared peccary has been extirpated from much of its historic range in Texas due to habitat loss, pelt trade, and extermination. Collared peccaries were reintroduced to Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area in the Llano Uplift region of Texas in 2004. The collared peccary population has increased in number since the initial release of 29 individuals, established several distinct herds, and expanded throughout the property. The goals of my study were to 1) describe habitat use relative to vegetation association and type of activity; and 2) define the home range size of each of the tagged herds. A total of 291 radio telemetry locations were collected from 6 herds. The mean calculated home range size (95% minimum convex polygon) for the 6 herds was 45.5 ha. The results of a fixed kernel density estimator indicated mean home range sizes of 100.6 ha, 45.6 ha, and 20.9 ha for isopleths of 95%, 75% and 50%, respectively. Collared peccaries avoided the Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica) - Post Oak (Q. stellata) - Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) - Side Oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) and the K.R. Bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum var. songarica) - Red Love Grass (Eragrostis secundiflora) - Silver Bluestem (Bothriochloa saccharoides) – Camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris) vegetation associations. These occur in the study area at proportions of 0.362 and 0.09457, respectively. Collared peccaries selected the Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) - White Brush (Aloysia gratissima) - Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) - Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana), Live Oak (Q. fusiformis) - Spanish Oak (Q. falcata) - Ashe Juniper (Juniperus ashei) – Mesquite, and Nuttall’s Stone Crop (Sedum nuttallianum) - Peruvian Spikemoss (Selaginella peruviana) - American Tripogon (Tripogon spicatus) - Grama Grass (Bouteloua spp.) vegetation associations. These occur in the study area at proportions of 0.075, 0.009, and 0.257, respectively. The purpose of my research was to provide information on the collared peccary in a previously understudied portion of its native range.