Herds of pig-like peccaries seem to disappear and reappear years later

Massive herds of a hairy, pig-like creature known as a peccary sometimes disappear suddenly across much of the Americas, and now we know why – its populations go through 30-year cycles of boom and bust

Life 9 November 2022

A group of peccaries

Peccaries are omnivorous and travel through the forests in herds of hundreds

José Fragoso

Huge herds of hairy, pig-like animals called peccaries suddenly vanish and don’t come back for years – and it seems to be because their populations are growing so large that they wipe themselves out.

It is the first example of natural population cyclicity documented in a mammal in Central and South America, and the largest in geography and timescale for any mammal in the world, says José Fragoso at the University of Brasilia in Brazil.

Fragoso was studying herds …

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