Baird’s Tapir Tapirus bairdii

Baby tapir south america

Baird’s Tapir Tapirus bairdii


Extant (resident): Belize; Colombia; Costa Rica; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama

Extinct: El Salvador

Presence Uncertain: Ecuador

Baird’s tapirs may look like they are relatives of elephants, but they’re actually closer kin to horses, donkeys, zebras, and rhinoceroses.

Although they look like elephants, Baird’s Tapirs are more closely related to #horses and #rhinos. They are #endangered in #SouthAmerica from #palmoil #cocoa #meat #deforestation. #Boycottpalmoil and #Boycott4Wildlife to help save them

The Baird’s Tapir is found in forested areas with ponds and streams (wet tropical rainforest, tropical subdeciduous forest and montane cloud forests), palm swamps, paramo, mangrove, riparian forest, and successional vegetation (caused by natural disturbances), as well as in narrow oak- forest strips covering the top of medium-altitude mountains; from sea level to 3,620 m (Brooks et al. 1997, Naranjo and Vaughan 2000).

In recent years, the increasing of palm oil plantations through the Baird Tapir’s distribution is becoming an relevant threat in the region.

IUCN red list

Like all tapirs, this species has a prominent nose. This is made of soft and flexible tissues, allowing them to snatch leaves and stems that would otherwise be out of reach. This species eats more than 200 kinds of plants, including twigs, stems, leaves, and even aquatic vegetation.

Baird’s Tapirs are solitary animals that usually only come together when they mate. Females have a gestation period of 13 months and then the baby remains with mum for 1-2 years. Juvenile Baird’s Tapirs have a coat covered in spots and tripes, that is thought to disguise them from predators such as Jaguars and Pumas in the understory of the rainforest.

The main factors of Baird’s population decline remain habitat destruction and localized hunting (Castellanos et al. 2008, Brooks et al. 1997).  The species low reproductive rate makes it more vulnerable to these threats (Brooks et al. 1997).

Between 2001 and 2010, Mexico and Central America experienced a net loss of 179,405 km2 of forested habitats, correlated with the gain of mixed woody/plantation and agriculture/herbaceous vegetation; the Maya Forest in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, and the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua had the greatest deforestation rates during this period (Aide et al. 2012).  Deforestation not only reduces forest extensions but also changes their spatial patterns, resulting in fragmented habitat and genetically isolated tapir populations.  The Nicaragua population is highly threatened by continued high rates of deforestation in its Biosphere Reserves and other protected areas (C. Jordan pers. comm.).

You can support this beautiful animal

There are no known conservation activities for this animal. Make art to raise awareness and join the #Boycott4Wildlife.

Further Information

ICUN endangered logo

Garcìa, M., Jordan, C., O’Farril, G., Poot, C., Meyer, N., Estrada, N., Leonardo, R., Naranjo, E., Simons, Á., Herrera, A., Urgilés, C., Schank, C., Boshoff, L. & Ruiz-Galeano, M. 2016. Tapirus bairdii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T21471A45173340. Downloaded on 06 June 2021.

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Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

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