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61. Chacoan Peccary

Catagonus wagneri


The Chacoan peccary is a pig-like mammal with a long, flexible snout and a coat of grey brown bristly fur, and is the largest of the three living species of peccary.

Although it was known from fossil material dating back to the Pleistocene, scientists believed it to have been long extinct until a living population was reported in the early 1970s! It is the only living species of its genus, Catagonus, with only three close relatives in the family Tayassuidae; each of which are the sole members of their own genera. The Chacoan peccary has been evolving in isolation for over 8 million years!

The species is well adapted to the dry, hostile climate in which it lives, and obtains most of its water from fleshy plants, such as cacti and bromeliads. The main threats to the species are thought to be from habitat loss and fragmentation and overhunting, although disease may also be contributing to population declines.

  • Order: Cetartiodactyla
  • Family: Tayassuidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 90cm-112cm
  • Weight: 29.5-40kg
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


Chacoan peccary is endemic to the Gran Chaco region of western Paraguay, south-eastern Bolivia and northern Argentina. It occurs in fragmented populations across a geographical range of approximately 140,000km2

Habitat and Ecology

The Chacoan peccary inhabit hot, semi-arid thorn forests and steppe, dominated by low-lying succulent plants and thorny bushes. This species is active during the day, particularly in the late morning. It spends much of its time browsing on fleshy plants such as cacti and bromeliads. Other foods eaten include roots, seeds, fruit and forbs. The species occasionally eats carrion and may also prey on small mammals. It obtains essential minerals from eating mineral-rich soil at naturally occurring salt-licks, and leaf-cutter mounds.

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Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Crops Livestock Hunting Dams Invasive species

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
Available at:

Download the survival blueprint for this species below. Each survival blueprint is compiled by an EDGE fellow working on the species with input from collaborators and stakeholders. The survival blueprint provides a status review (information on the distribution, protection status, habitat & ecology, threat and stakeholder analysis) and more information on the action programme listed here. 

Vision (30-50 years)

Ensure viable populations of Catagonus wagneri in the Chaco eco-region, maintaining ecological integrity and environmental connectivity throughout its distribution, within a framework of sustainable development that addresses the needs and visions of local communities, valuing the species as emblem.

Goal (5-10 years)

The natural habitat of the species will be conserved and will be connected for populations to interchange individuals and existing populations are conserved.


Give proper value to the Chaco ecosystems, ecosystem services and resources Critical
The existing legal regulations are improved, regionally appropriate and applicable. There are no legal gaps and the countries the occupy the Chaco region are interested and involved in the sustainable development of the region Critical
There are new declared protected areas and the existing protected areas are consolidated throughout the Chacoan peccary´s distribution range (Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina) Critical
Facilitate land tenure rights of lands inhabited by traditional people in areas suitable for the species Critical
Entities responsible for oversight and control fulfill their obligations in an efficient and coordinated manner Critical
Local communities care for the species and its habitat Critical
The species is declared under the highest level of protection (eg National Monument) Critical
There is information about distribution of Chacoan peccary´s populations, habitat selection and requirements and landscape functional connectivity for the species Critical
There is a pilot education and public awareness programme focused on the species, which functions effectively and is accessible to key local actors to conserve the species Critical
There is information about ecological and biological parameters of the species Critical
Relevant stakeholders interact and can reach consensus (government, researchers, NGOs, producers and private companies, local communities) High
The species is considered an emblem of the Chaco High
The guidelines provided in this document and in the Action Plan (Altrichter et al. 2016) are adopted as a guideline for the conservation of the species in each country by Law High
The number of dogs per family has been reduced to the minimum necessary. There are no wild dogs High
There is an updated record of individuals of Chacoan peccary in captivity with adequate control and inspection actions High
Eradication of illegal hunting of the Chacoan peccary High
There is no Chacoan peccary mortality associated with accidents or trampling High
There is biological information on the species from captive breeding programs High
There is a standardized system of monitoring the species and studies of habitat selection and occupation High
There is a database of publications of about the Chacoan peccary High
There is information available on the socio-economic value of the species and the different perceptions of different cultures on it High
There is a standardized protocol for telemetry studies High
Research appears on the agendas of National Research Institutions (CONICET, CONACIT, Universities, government agencies of science, etc.) High

Micaela Camino

  • Project name: Design, application and evaluation of actions for conserving the last Chacoan peccaries
  • Project site: Chaco, Formosa and Salta Provinces, Argentina
  • Active: 2015 - ongoing
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