The lowland tapir has the broadest range of all four tapir species extending from north-central Colombia and east of the Andes throughout most of tropical South America down to north eastern Argentina and Paraguay. Tapirs play a critical role in shaping and maintaining biological diversity, and function as an indicator species of the health of various tropical biomes, and are critical species to key ecological processes, for example, seed dispersal, as well as nutrient recycling. However, tapirs are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting.
This program includes scientific research on basic tapir ecology, demography, epidemiology, genetics, as well as environmental education and habitat restoration efforts. With Regional Action Plans for the conservation of tapirs and their remaining habitats within the Atlantic Forest and the Pantanal, we aim to assess tapir status in the region and, once again, design a specific set of conservation strategies that will benefit tapirs, other wildlife, as well as the Pantanal biome itself. The project uses tapirs as flagship species, catalyzing education, awareness, training and capacity-building, and scientific tourism initiatives.
From 2014 to 2015, Taronga has helped the Institute for Ecological Research to better understand the ecology and demographics of lowland tapir populations. With 34 individual tapirs radio-collared and monitored over 6 years, as well as the collection of a number of biological samples and sightings of tapir social behaviour and reproduction, critical parameters for the analysis of tapir population status and viability have been obtained. The program has also increased its education and outreach program, with many rural schools, local community members, university students and conservation professionals being reached through workshops and talks.
The Institute for Ecological Research (IPE) in Brazil is dedicated to the conservation of the country’s biodiversity and to providing sustainable development for local communities. Its Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI) was instigated in 1996 and includes scientific research on basic tapir ecology, demography, epidemiology, genetics, as well as environmental education and habitat restoration efforts.
What can you do?
Think then ask before you buy: Our consumption places pressure on resources all over the world – whether you are travelling or buying here in Australia, think, then ask before you buy – will what I am buying affect wildlife?