Javelina (Tayassu Tajacu)

Native Texan Endangered Species

The Background of the Javelina

Though some people think javelina are a type of wild pig, they are actually members of the peccary family, a group of hoofed mammals originating from South America. Javelina are common in much of central and southern Arizona, including the outskirts of the Phoenix area, most of Tucson, and occasionally as far north as Flagstaff. Javelina form herds of two to more than 20 animals and rely on each other to defend territory, protect against predators, regulate temperature and interact socially. They use washes and areas with dense vegetation as travel corridors. Javelina are most active at night, but they may be active during the day when it is cold.

Threats of Endangerment

For centuries, collared peccaries were an important meat source to people in Central and South America. In the southwestern United States, they are hunted for sport. Wild felines are their main natural predators. However, those activities have a minor impact on collared peccary populations compared to habitat loss to farms, pastures and human developments. Frustrated farmers organize collared peccary extermination programs to protect their crops. In the past, commercial sale of their hide and meat in global markets reduced their populations significantly.

Baiting and killing any critter - including peccaries (javelina aren't "rodents") from 3ft away (unless it poses a direct threat) is cowardice, not sportsmanship. (The regs that apply to baiting vary a bit, depending upon the agency that regulates the land you're hunting on and what species you're hunting.) And, if these "hunters" broke any regulations or illegally trespassed, they need to be dealt with accordingly. Well-intentioned humans also need to leave wildlife (that has natural options for its existence) alone! You're killing them with kindness - and, I'm sure that isn't your intent! When humans interfere, we change the dynamics, and that rarely turns out well for the animals or for the humans. Javelina (like coyotes) don't tend to be dangerous unless they feel cornered, are protecting their young, or are diseased. Most of the time, they'll move away instead of toward us - unless, of course, they've grown accustomed to the interaction.... And, wild dogs, coyotes, and mountain lion are all threats to javelina, so these powerful critters are prepared to defend themselves. Thus, an encounter with a pet dog needs to be prevented as it's likely that both the dog and the javelina are going to be losers. Not really fair to either one.