Conservation and Research
SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
Environmental Excellence Awards
Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute
Reproductive Research Center
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Teacher Workshops and Training
with three subgenera (
) and four species
Tapirs are marked by a high rounded rump which tapers to a sloped, somewhat elongate head. The snout and upper lip form a snub proboscis. They are covered in short, coarse fur - with some species exhibiting a narrow mane. Coloration varies among species with most maintaining a dark brownish red dorsal coat and a lighter hued ventral coat. One species,
, exhibits a white central coat with the hind legs, fore legs, and head being black in hue.
Head & body length = 180-250 cm
Tail length = 5-13 cm
Shoulder height = 73-120 cm
Aquatic vegetation, low-growing terrestrial plants and shoots
390-95 days (
385-412 days (
In a controlled setting, one species reached 35 years
Portions of Central and South America (3 species); southern Burma and Thailand, Malay Peninsula and Sumatra (1 species)
Wooded and/or grassy areas with a permanent water source
Varies according to species
Lists one species as endangered, one as near threatened, and two as vulnerable
Lists three species on appendix 1 and one on appendix 2
Lists all four species as endangered
Tapirs, depending upon the species, are found at altitudes ranging from sea level to 4,500 meters.
Tapirs' hooves will wear obvious paths to often used water sources. These paths are occasionally used as guides by engineers as they plot the course of roads along mountainsides.
Tapirs are generally solitary, communicating via shrill whistles and urine scent-marks. Encounters among adult tapirs typically result in aggressive behavior.
In all species, young tapirs have a reddish brown coat with yellow and white stripes and spots. At 5-8 months of age, they lose this coloration and exhibit the adult coat common to their species.
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
Tapirs face the pressures of sport and subsistence hunting as well as habitat loss (forested areas are cleared for agriculture and cattle grazing). For one species,
, these pressures have reduced their numbers to 1,000-2,500 individuals. The disappearance of any of these species would be a particular tragedy as they are key dispersers of plant seeds.
Nowak, Ronald M.
Walker's Mammals of the World - Volume I