All Tapir information provided by
the Tapir Specialist Group
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Tapirs are mammals which are often confused with hippos, anteaters and capybaras.
Their closest living relatives are odd-toed ungulates (hoofed animals), horses and rhinos.
There are four living species of tapir:
Why are tapirs important?
Tapirs play a critical role in shaping and maintaining the biological diversity of tropical ecosystems.
The tapir is one of the first species in its habitat to be adversely affected by
human disturbance because of their size, and because of their sensitivity to habitat changes.
Local extinction or population decrease may trigger adverse effects in the habitat, causing
disruptions of some key ecological processes (e.g. seed dispersal, nutrient recycling),
and eventually compromising the long-term integrity and biodiversity of the ecosystem.
Threats to Tapirs
Hunting pressure on tapirs throughout their ranges, habitat destruction and
fragmentation and encroachment into protected park areas by subsistence
farmers and illegal logging are all major threats to Tapirs.
Tapirs do well where there are few threats impeding their normal
needs to thrive in large undisturbed tracts of habitat.
Certain areas of the Brazilian Amazon, Brazilian Pantanal, Peruvian Amazon,
Honduran Mosquitia and Panamanian Darien forests have healthy tapir populations.
How can you help tapirs?
There are many ways to help tapirs, even if you are not old enough to vote!
~Write letters to your government officials supporting legislature
that funds conservation in the Neotropics.
~Write your favorite international conservation organization asking them
to make tapir conservation a funding priority.
~Tell others about tapirs--spread the word about their uniqueness
and their status in the wild.
~Support tapir research and conservation through
~Donate field equipment, or gear to Neotropical
researchers through organizations like IdeaWild.
~Travel to tapir range countries and visit parks where tapirs are
known to live; ecotourism to see specific animals can stimulate a local
economy by providing hospitality and guiding jobs.
~Consider studying tapir-specific subject matter at your university;
there are many ecological, biological, sociological and historical
aspects of tapir information that are not being studied.
IUCN's Red List Report outlines current status estimations for each species: