The World's Tapirs--The Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris)
|Map by Carlos Pedraza, TSG, 2008
(click to see larger)
Rainforest and wetlands of South America
Up to 6 feet long (1.8 meters) and 550 pounds (225 kg)
The Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) occurs
through a wide geographic range from North-Central Colombia and
east of the Andes throughout most of tropical South America. It
occurs mostly in tropical lowland rainforest but can also be found
in seaonally dry habitats such as the Chaco of Bolivia and Paraguay.
Conservation Threats: The major threats to the species are habitat loss due to deforestation, hunting for meat and competition with domestic livestock.
Population Estimate (2008): There is not enough research information available to estimate population. We do know that due to habitat loss population numbers are in decline, though numerous strongholds exist. The lowland tapir, although generally rare and elusive, can be locally common, such as around water sources.
Characteristics: The Lowland tapir is distinct in appearance from other tapirs due
to its large stiff mane or crest from shoulder to forehead. It is
the size of a small pony and when running, resembles the galloping
of a horse. They possess large teeth, perfect for grinding up plants
and seeds, and a prehensile proboscis or snout, which they use to
reach for leaves and fruits.
The Lowland tapir is primarily solitary and shy,
grazeing and foraging at night, and resting or hiding during the
day. It eats fruits and plants and other vegetation and is a strong
swimmer, known to cross rivers and take to the water to escape predators.
danta (Spanish), anta (Brazil), maypouri (Quichua), danta de tierras
bajas o amazónica (Spanish), sachavaca, huagra (Perú);
anta (Brasil); gran bestia (Colombia, Ecuador).
More About Lowland Tapirs
IUCN Red List Report on Lowland Tapir
BROOKS, D.; BODMER, R.E.; MATOLA, S (compilers). 1997. Tapirs -
Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. (English, Spanish, Portuguese.)
IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge,UK.viii+164pp.
Dirección en la Red. http://www.tapirback.com/tapirgal/iucn-ssc/tsg/action97/cover.htm
EMMONS, L. 1990. Neotropical Rainforest Mammals. The University
of Chicago Press. EEUU. 281p
Illustration generously provided
by Stephen Nash, Conservation International