We report a range-wide status assessment of a key Neotropical ecosystem architect, the white-lipped peccary Tayassu pecari, categorized as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, using published information and unpublished data from 41 scientists in 15 range countries. We estimate that the white-lipped peccary has been extirpated in 21% of its historical range over the last 100 years, with reduced abundance and a low to medium probability of long-term survival in another 48% of its current range. We found major range declines in Argentina, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, north-east Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica. This species is particularly at risk in more xeric ecosystems, especially the caatinga, cerrado and pampas. Hunting and habitat destruction are the most severe threats, although there are also unexplained sudden die-offs suggestive of disease. We evaluate our results in light of this species’ important interspecific interactions and its role as an ecosystem architect. One of our recommendations is that conservation efforts should focus on landscape conservation of large, continuous and ecologically intact areas containing a mosaic of different habitat types.