|The Tapir Gallery:|
Focus on the
Inhabiting a paradise in peril
The lowland, Brazilian, or South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is indigenous to most of the rainforested areas of South America. While there are more of this species left than of the Baird's, mountain and Malayan tapirs, the rainforests are suffering at the hands of humanity, and the tapirs are disappearing along with the rainforest. In addition, tapirs are often hunted, a pressure they cannot withstand for long.
Tapirs figure in myths, legends, and religious beliefs of indigenous people. The Piaroas Indians of South America do not kill the tapir (Tapirus terrestris) because they believe tapirs to be "a sacred animal in which their ancestors are reincarnated." Source: Edgardo Mondolfi, "La Danta o Tapir," Defensa Nat. 1969. 1(4): 13-20.
Links below marked with an (orange arrow) indicate that the page is about or specifically includes lowland (or Brazilian) tapirs. Other links may contain general information, or information about a habitat area that includes lowland tapirs, but where the species is not mentioned.
Description and general information
- About Tapirs
- Distribution map
This page in The Tapir Gallery links to online reprints and also tells you where to obtain reprints on paper.
- Lowland tapir
"The Ultimate Ungulate Page: Your Guide to the World's Hoofed Mammal Species." Includes photos and a concise description of the species with range maps, measurements, and more.
- Pictures of lowland tapirs on the Tapir Gallery Web site
- Lowland tapir pictures and info on the ARKive Web site
Endangered species lists
- Tapirus terrestris on the CITES list
Click on Common name and then the Submit button. Search for tapir and you will see all the species listed. The CITES Home page is located here (links to Spanish and French language pages are available).
- How many are in the zoo?
This list gives the number of Brazilian tapirs in zoos that belong to the ISIS organization. Over half of the world's zoos are members. Follow the "Mammals" link, and then search for "Tapirus." As we can, the Tapir Preservation Fund will be trying to learn how many Brazilian tapirs are in zoos other than the ones on this list. Note that there are two lists for Brazilian tapirs. The first is without a subspecies designation, the second is for Tapirus terrestris terrestris.
- Tapir TAG (Taxon Advisory Group) of the AZA
The AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) lists 42 males, 48 females, for a total of 90 animals kept in zoos belonging to their association. While the Brazilian tapir is still endangered, there are currently so many of this species in zoos that the Tapir TAG is encouraging zoos to stop breeding them in order to make room for the other three species, all of which are more endangered than Tapirus terrestris. See also their Homepage, where you can search the site.
Conservation and researchGeneral/inclusive
- IUCN/SSC Action Plan for Tapirs
This is on the Web site of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group. The article entitled "Tapirs as Seed Dispersers and Predators" gives a long list of foods eaten by this species.
- Tapirs: Conservation & Ecology
- How Can I Help?
- Tapir Conservation: Number 7, October 1997
This is on the Web site of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group. Check the Table of Contents and follow the links to South America. This reference gives numbers of Brazilian tapirs in each country, if known.
- Patrícia Medici: in the field in Brazil
A Tapir Gallery Conservation Profile. Learn how Patrícia, a research biologist and conservationist working near São Paulo, is helping us learn about and ultimately save the tapirs.
Red Danta Colombia
In Spanish: Red Danta Colombia is an informal group of people that uses internet to communicate about its work with tapirs in Colombia. "Red Danta" means "tapir network." This is an exciting development in tapir conservation, and is still in its infancy.
- Devastation by mining: Bolívar state, Venezuela
Not only tapirs, but humans and all other animals and plants are already being destroyed by dangerous mining practices in the state of Bolívar. New decisions by the Venezuelan government will make the situation worse.