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Grant Recipients 2012 - Tapir Specialist Group Conservation Fund


The Baird’s Tapir National Action Plan for Guatemala: Linking Research, Conservation and Management
Manolo García, GUATEMALA
The project aims to integrate field information and spatial analyses developed on previous researches with the existing draft document of the Strategy for the conservation and management the Baird’s tapir habitat into the National Action Plan for the species in Guatemala. In the past 5 years the research team have collected information in the field, performed spatial analyses and conducted workshops for the development of the Strategy for the management of the species habitat. These efforts needs to be updated and continued in order to conclude into the development and future implementation of a National Action Plan. In this project spatial models for the species habitat quality and potential distribution will be updated with field data and the inclusion of the most recent spatial data for the country; and interviews and workshops will be conducted in order to edit and validate a document containing the National Action Plan. The update and increase of field data and analyses will lead to the publication of results to be shared with other researchers. The goals and activities of the project are based on the Baird’s tapir Action Plan.

Mapping Distribution and Habitat Use of Nicaragua’s Baird’s Tapirs
Christopher Jordan, NICARAGUA
Little was known about Nicaragua’s Baird’s tapirs before November 2010. There were two confirmed populations: one in the far north and another in the far south. Otherwise, almost no information existed. We have spent two years gathering baseline data on Nicaragua tapir distribution with camera trap and track surveys along the entire Caribbean coast. Results suggest a viable tapir corridor between the previously documented populations may exist. Two areas remain to be surveyed: Prinzapolka, RAAN; and north Bluefields, RAAS. Our specific goals for this funding include: 1) sample the two regions that would complete our survey of the corridor between the known populations, and 2) foment the development of a Tapir Conservation Committee and Conservation Action Plan in Nicaragua. We have the field supplies, local support, and permits to complete the project. Two local university students, the only Nicaraguans undertaking tapir field research, work as field assistants and are using the data to complete theses. We do not have funding to complete this project; $2,000 would allow us to sample the remaining areas. When completed, we will create accurate distribution and habitat use maps for the Baird’s tapir in Nicaragua using occupancy and maximum entropy modeling. These actions address Problem 1 and Goal 2 of the Baird’s Tapir Action Plan. During fieldwork we work to build a network of Nicaraguan government officials, community members, and professors and students who support our efforts. Research results and this strong network will be used to draft a viable Nicaragua Tapir Conservation Action Plan.


Teaching Teachers about Tapirs: Building the Capacity of Schoolteachers and Environmental Educators to Raise Awareness of Baird’s Tapir in the Toledo District of Southern Belize
Julio Chub and Lee McLoughlin, BELIZE
The objectives of the project are: 1) ≥6 NGOs and ≥5 primary schools in Toledo have increased capacity to raise awareness of Baird’s tapir and surrounding conservation issues; 2) teaching resources are available to teachers throughout Belize to raise awareness of Baird’s tapir and surrounding conservation issues; 3) ≥50 primary school children have enhanced appreciation of Baird’s tapir and increased awareness of the threats to the species. To achieve these objectives, Ya’axche Conservation Trust’s education officer will conduct the following activities: i) identify ways in which Baird’s tapir is valued in Belizean culture (including indigenous Maya culture) and incorporate these in educational activities; ii) in collaboration with the Belize Zoo & Tropical Education Centre and schoolteachers, design a series of educational activities to raise awareness of Baird’s tapirs and surrounding conservation issues among primary school students; iii) organize a competition for high school students to design teaching materials to teach younger children about Baird’s tapirs, for instance designing a tapir costume; iv) trial the educational activities during classroom lessons and field trips to Bladen Nature Reserve with ≥5 school teachers and ≥50 students; v) refine the educational activities based on the trial results and present them in as user--‐friendly education pack for teachers; vi) share the education pack with ≥5 environmental educators from other local NGOs through a local “Environmental Educator’s Alliance”; vii) make the materials available online and promote them to teachers throughout Belize.


Environmental Education Successfully Complementing Tapir Conservation
Jamal Andrewin-Bohn, BELIZE
The project addresses the challenge of Human Impact, listed in the 2005 Tapir Action Plan for the Central American Tapir (Tapirus bairdii). In Belize, the Central American Tapir is the national animal, affectionately known as the “mountain cow.” However, reports from the field about hunting and persecution of this endangered species, increased fragmentation of tapir habitat, as well as periodic tapir deaths due to vehicular collisions indicate that tapir populations face a bleak future in Belize. To assist in raising awareness about tapirs, The Belize Zoo (TBZ) has produced a children’s storybook, “Tambo the Tapir Tells his Tale”. Important natural history and conservation concepts are discussed, and the book promises to be a popular addition to the literature resources in Belize. Complementing the book’s arrival is TBZ’s initiative to have each 27th of April celebrated as National Tapir Day, coinciding with World Tapir Day, which has been approved the Belizean Prime Minister’s office. This day of celebration for the tapir is mentioned in the storybook. TBZ would like to see the storybook distributed to every school in the nation. Accompanying the book’s distribution, TBZ wishes to develop a poster which celebrates the Central American Tapir, through attractive graphics and clear and concise conservation messages in both English and Spanish. In addition, simple road awareness signs to be placed along the major collision “hot spots” on the highways. These conservation resources would serve to bring about an increased awareness about the special profile of our national animal, and the need to protect its species.



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