The World's Tapirs--The MountainTapir (Tapirus pinchaque)
The Mountain tapir is the largest mammal in the tropical Andes
|Map by Carlos Pedraza, TSG, 2008
(click to see larger)
Range: Montane forests and Paramos
in Colombia, Ecuador and northern Peru, between 2000 to 4000 meters
Characteristics: The Mountain
tapir is the smallest of tapir species. Their color is brownish
to black with long hair and a white line around the lips. The adults
have two characteristic hair-free patches in the rump. They measure
1.8 meters long, 0.8 meters high, and weigh between 150 and 250
Kilos. The Mountain tapir is the smallest and most furry of the
tapirs. As with all tapir species, their young have a dappled, camouflage
Conservation Threats: The primary threats to the mountain tapir are warfare and habitat loss due to poppy farming and growth of ranching and agriculture, driven by human population growth in the Andean region. Hunting is no longer a major threat due to local regulations and increased awareness of this species’ rarity and conservation status.
Population Estimate (2008): Exact numbers are not known as more research is needed, but estimated population is more than 2,500 individuals. Numbers are decreasing.
Behavior: The mountain tapir
feeds on leaves, twigs and fruits of a large number of plant species
in Andean forests and paramos. The most preferred are plants of
the genus Lupinus, leaves of Gynoxys, Gunnera sp, Oreopanax, and
Chusquea sp. The tapirs are important seed dispersers and a key
component for the maintenance of the structure and composition of
montane forests in South America
They are solitary and their activity is mainly between the first
hours of dusk and first hours in sunrise. They are more active in
low temperatures than on warm days. Like other tapir species the
mountain tapir is comfortable in water and can swim. They also have
a very developed sense of smell and hearing. They are strong and
very well adapted to locomotion in forested hills and to the harsh
weather conditions of the high Andes.
Other names: Tapir de montaña, danta conga,
danta de páramo, danta lanuda.
More About Mountain Tapirs
IUCN Red List Report on Mountain Tapir
Mountain Tapir Profile
San Francisco Zoo
Lizcano, D. J., A. Guarnizo, J. A. Suarez, F. K. Florez, and O.
Montenegro. 2006. Danta de paramo Tapirus pinchaque. in J. V. Rodriguez-Maecha,
M. Alberico, F. Trujillo, and J. Jorgenson, editors. Libro rojo
de los mamíferos de Colombia. Serie libros rojos de especies
amenazadas de Colombia.
Conservación Internacional, Colombia & Ministerio de
Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial, Bogota, Colombia.
Morales-Jiménez A.L., Sánchez F., K Poveda & A.
Cadena. 2004. Mamíferos terrestres y voladores de Colombia.
Guía de Campo. Bogotá, Colombia. 248 p.
Ministerio de Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial, Viceministerio
de Ambiente, Dirección de Ecosistemas. 2005. Programa Nacional
para la Conservación del Género Tapirus en Colombia.
Written with help from Diego Lizcano, TSG, and Juliana Rodriguez,
Illustration generously provided
by Stephen Nash, Conservation International