The diurnal time budget of four herds of white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) was studied using direct observation. The study took place from July 1996 to April 1997 in Corcovado National Park, southwestern Costa Rica. We predicted that time budget would be diagnostic of peccaries' welfare regarding food abundance. We considered that a decrease in time spent resting and in social interactions would be indicative of nutritional stress. Peccaries spent 34 percent (±1.7) of their daytime eating, 33 percent (±1.8) moving, 28 percent (±2.3) resting, 3 percent (±0.25) in social interactions, and 2.6 percent (±1.4) in other activities. The time spent resting decreased as the time spent moving and eating increased during the months of fruit scarcity. There were no differences among habitats in the proportion of time used for each activity. In the wet season, peccaries spent more time eating than in the dry season, probably because of the considerable time allocated to rooting. The monthly variation in time spent on social interactions and the frequency of agonistic interactions seemed to be related to breeding rather than fruit availability. While in the study area, peccaries traveled the longest distance in October, which coincided with the lowest fruit availability. In mid-November, the radio-marked herds left the study area and returned in January. Analyses of the peccaries' time budget suggest that fruit scarcity at the end of the wet season affected the peccaries' behavior and probably induced them to travel long distances in search of food.
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Vol. 34 • No. 1