Monday, December 29, 2008

Baird's tapir skull photo courtesy of Nancy R. Koerner

Photo of Baird's tapir skull courtesy of
and copyright by Nancy R. Koerner

This photo of an adolescent Baird's tapir skull was loaned to us by Nancy R. Koerner for use on the Tapir Gallery Web site. Tapir skulls are always interesting. Note that this one may look very different from some Baird's tapir skulls because the bony nasal septum has disappeared, and only the hard bone is left. When looking at photos of the skulls of Baird's tapir, it would be easy to think there were two completely different animals. Here you can compare the skull above with one mounted in the Smithsonian which still has the septum intact. See a larger image of the skull and read about how Nancy acquired it on the skull's page in The Tapir Gallery. It can also be viewed in our Picasa Web Album of Baird's tapir natural history photos.

Nancy is the author if Belize Survivor: Darker Side of Paradise. It is a fascinating book with an important message for our times.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cotswold Wildlife Park

Sarah Cooper with lowland tapir at Cotswold Wildlife Park, 2008 Photos contributed by Sarah Cooper (skoop102)
First posted on the Tapirs Google group
December 11, 2008

Lowland tapir at Cotswold Wildlife Park, 2008, by Sarah Cooper
Lowland tapir at Cotswold Wildlife Park, 2008, by Sarah Cooper
Lowland tapir at Cotswold Wildlife Park, 2008, by Sarah CooperSarah wrote:


I thought I would share some photos taken on a recent visit to the Cotswold Wildlife Park, at Burford, England (

Pictured are the 2 Brazilian tapirs who live at the park, Timmy the male, and Squidge the female.

Also included is a picture of me, stroking Timmy. At the park, the tapirs are very friendly and you are able to stroke them, unsupervised, over the fence.

They share their enclosure with a family of capybara.

Squidge and Timmy and had a baby born this year, but he sadly died. Their previous baby, Belita, has now left the park, and I believe she has moved to a collection in Belgium.

From Sarah.

Please e-mail your photos and text if you would like to see them on the blog.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.
Join WORLD TAPIR DAY on Facebook.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Baby tapir coming in England

Hi Everyone,

Now is the time to tune in to the Tapir Cam at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm near Bristol, England. The female tapir, Tara, is expecting a calf literally any day - maybe today or tomorrow! I've given a longer explanation of how and when to watch on the Tapirs Google Group:

and here is the link to the Tapir Cam:

The photo above is Stanley K. Tapir's baby, Melon, born years ago at the Houston Zoo. I'm using it as an example of how adorable baby tapirs are! By the way, baby tapirs are called "calves" even though the parents are not called bulls and cows.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mountain tapir skull photos in our web album

In the 1960s or around 1970, I acquired this mountain tapir skull from Ecuador. You can see additonal photos and angles, and learn where it came from and why it has green and orange paint in it. You can find the photos in our Mountain Tapir Natural History Web Album. As I go through photos and info from my tapir files, I'll be making a lot more tapir material available for public use.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tapir Web cam . . . you have to see this!

Check it out. Sarah Tegan posted on the Tapirs Google Group earlier today. I don't know how to bookmark it, but I've got it minimized on my desktop :)


I'm not sure if you've seen this tapir webcam, at Noah's Ark Farm zoo in Bristol. Most entertaining!

Sarah-Tegan. xx

Baird's tapir tapers (candlesticks)

I've uploaded several new images of Baird's tapir art and craft and have captioned the album. You can see them by following the link above. I'm in the process of going through the files on my hard drive, so I hope to have more "soon" on an ongoing basis until I finish! Then I'll get to the paper files and photos on slides. . . .
I'm continuing to update the web albums. Here are a couple of the new tapirs since the earlier part of this post. You can find the links to all of the ART AND CRAFT tapir web albums below the images. The albums are not completely labelled, but that will come. I'm not trying to leave out any of the people who sent me things to put online!

Lowland tapirs in balata rubber from Guyana
Baby mountain tapir in balsa wood from Ecuador

Album art and craft links:

Lowland Tapir Art and Craft Album
Mountain Tapir Art and Craft Album
Baird's Tapir Art and Craft Album
Malayan Tapir Art and Craft Album
Mixed and Generic Tapir Art and Craft Album

Friday, November 14, 2008

Silvia Chalukian wins Club Tapir vote for October 2008

Dear Tapir Fans and Friends,

You can read more about Silvia's project in Argentina and vote for November's Club Tapir project on our Club Tapir page.

Visit the Proyeco Tapir site here. It's in several languages, including English. I love the animated intro!


A photo of April the Tapir in the mud

Tapir photo Copyright 2008 Douglas W. Reynolds, Jr.

This photo of April the tapir at the Belize Zoo was sent to us by Douglas Reynolds to share with tapir fans and help raise awareness about tapirs. You can see more tapir photos on The Tapir Gallery web site and learn about their endangered status and what can be done. Thanks for visiting! Remember, all tapirs are endangered! You've got some nice footprints, there, April! This photo was taken January 8, 2008.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gray Fossil (Tapir) Site has a new web address

I've just had word from Martin Kohl, who discovered the first fossil bone at what is now known as the Gray Fossil Site in Tennessee, that his site's URL has changed. Please check out the new location: There are pictures of fossil tapir skulls and excellent clear photos of the teeth, renderings of just how that many tapirs could have been caught in one pit, and other interesting scientific material on the site. The picture above is borrowed from the site with thanks. It shows the place that would become such a tremendous educational center on the day of the first fossil discovery. Martin Kohl's web site also gives a history of the dig and how it all got started. Many important discoveries have come from the Gray site including red pandas, turtles, and beautiful fossil plants.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Photo of a tapir at Linton Zoo, UK

Hi Everyone,

Charmain Felts sent this photo of one of the lowland tapirs at Linton Zoo. She wrote:

Sending you a picture I took at Linton Zoo in Cambridgeshire, UK. This is by far the best enclosure I have seen Tapirs in. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area . . . the Tapirs are called Shannon and Tanya, and have been at Linton zoo since 1990. The zoo's web site is

Kind regards,

Charmain from Bedfordshire

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Charming resin mountain tapirs

Mamadanta and her baby, Tapircito, were made in Colombia by Sergio Sandoval. You can get them both in TPF's gift shop, but mama isn't set up for online ordering yet. Please see this blog post for ordering details. Thanks!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Non-tapir crafts that help us fund tapir conservation

What's this? A photo with no tapir in it? Find out why. I've written quite a long post about our online gift shops (original and new), their purpose, directions, and a little history on the Google group: Tapirs.

Club Tapir for September and October and a bit about albino tapirs

Above: A Baird's tapir is taking a mud bath in Nuevo Becal, Campeche, Mexico. You can read more about Georgina O'Farrill's tapir project here. The white spot on the head appears to me to be similar to some other Baird's tapirs from Mexico that apparently had genetically-transmitted partial albinism. See photos here, here, and here (note the nose of this baby in the second photo!).

Dear Tapir Fans and Friends,

Thank you, thank you for your support of Club Tapir in September! I know it's much more difficult in this economy, and the projects are that much more in need of funding, and that much more appreciative of the funding that comes in.

OUR WINNER FOR SEPTEMBER is Georgina O'Farrill of Mexico. You supported her work for $250.00 in September. Thank you!

VOTING FOR OCTOBER'S PROJECTS is now online and ready to go:

I'm going to be away for a couple of weeks, but Sue is here to take your votes and answer any questions at the e-mail link on the Tapir Gallery as usual.

When I get back, we have two main thrusts for fundraising besides Club Tapir. As the Christmas season is coming soon, our gift shop will keep us busy and most of our available time and effort will be directed there. The gift shop is our main source for funding tapir work, and this is the time of year we need to maximize what it can do for us.

In addition, I will be looking at putting more material online for our supported tapir projects, including blogs, etc. We all need to get creative in today's economy, and we'll be working with the project Principals to do just that!

Thanks for your ideas and support.

All the best,


Monday, September 29, 2008

Tapirs at the Georgetown Zoo, Guyana

The photos in this blog post are old ones. We're expecting updates soon. Keep on reading. . . .

On Sunday, September 21, 2008, I received e-mail wth the subject line: "Tapirs at Georgetown Zoo." Wow, did THAT bring back memories! Here is the reaffirming letter from Julia and Patrick Petipas that accompanied the subject:


We used to be members of the original tapir club years ago, and have retained our interest in tapirs. Last week we unexpectedly saw the fruits of a Tapir Preservation Fund project.

Patrick's a pilot and now works a Georgetown, Guyana route pretty regularly. I went along with him last time. Late one afternoon we ourselves with some free time and all the tourist attractions we knew of closed for the day; a taxi driver suggested we visit the zoo. We were hesitant, since too many zoos, especially in poorer countries, are sad and depressing. But he insisted it was nice, and that the park where it was located was worth a look even if we didn't like the zoo.

It was a little depressing, but it seemed evident that zookeepers cared and were trying to do right with what they had. We also saw a tapir area, but no tapirs.

As we were heading for the exit, close to the sunset closing time, we saw that the tapirs had emerged so we went to see them. And to our surprise, they approached, snouts sniffing at us curiously. The female seemed to be particularly interested in me, and especially friendly staying near us for as long as we stood there and following to the edge of their enclosed area when we had to leave. They both seemed to be healthy and well cared-for. As we were leaving, we noticed a sign on the roof over their pool that said funding had been provided by the Tapir Preservation Fund and asked ourselves if this was the same organization, and if it was still in existence.

I'm very glad to see that it is, and that the Georgetown Zoo project, apparently one of the first projects funded ten years ago, is still helping out tapirs! I think we'll be rejoining Club Tapir.

Julia & Patrick

The Georgetown tapirs were, indeed, one of Club Tapir's first projects. My initial thought had been to help provide funding for projects working with wild tapir conservation, when I was contacted by Karl Kranz, then Senior Vice-President of Animal Affairs for the Philadelphia Zoo, asking if we'd take on a special-needs zoo project. It was gratifying to be able to help, and the voters liked being able to see the tapirs that would benefit from their donations. In October 1998, the Georgetown Zoo tapirs won their first vote (and dollar award) on Club Tapir as a project in need of funding. The zoo staff was caring, but there was no money for badly-needed improvements. I'd been contacted by Karl Kranz about helping via Club Tapir, and the Club Tapir voters were enthusiastic. By July 1999, we had pitched in to raise $1,465.00 for the project. ZCOG nearly matched the sum under the directorship of Dan Hilliard, and Donna Shepherd supplied us with photos, some of which are below. You can read more about it in this issue of TPF News, SEE PHOTOS OF SOME OF THE IMPROVEMENTS, and get a glimpse of what it's like to move 400-pound tapirs without a crane!

During their visit in 2008, Julia and Patrick were so enamored of the tapirs' friendliness and interest in humans, they simply related to them and didn't think of taking photos. Julia says Patrick is going back soon and will be sure to bring the camera. As a comparison, I'm posting a few photos below of the old zoo in the late 1990s. You can see that the area is lush and green the way tapirs like it. The staff is caring and affectionate towards the tapirs, but the structures are old and in need of repair. These pictures were taken in 1999. Julia and Patrick will be sending updated ones very soon and I'll post them for you.

Georgetown Zoo, Guyana, 1999

Georgetown Zoo, Guyana, 1999. Outdoors, the tapirs had no shade during the middle of the day.

Georgetown Zoo, Guyana, 1999

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Polishing a palo de sangre wood tapir

What a nice tapir, too! I found this photo online. It shows how the artisans make the wood so shiny.'

We're looking forward to a new shipment of our own soon. You never know what will turn up. It would be something to find a tapir as realistic as this one!

~ Sheryl

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tapirs and Florida's vanishing wildlife

What's the connection between tapirs and Florida's vanishing wildlife? Check out this page on the "Endangered Wildlife" web site, then venture further into the site. It's nicely designed and has good info for all of us!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Club Tapir page ready for September's donations

Hi All,

The new page is up. A few changes have been made, and you can see and vote for the current projects via this link. The tapir projects represent long hours of ongoing work - every day, every week, every year. It's so gratifying to see that, whereas a number of years ago tapir work was sporadic and the projects were short, the tapir world now has a number of quality projects that have a longevity of production stretching for years, not months. These projects, like the new ones, need ongoing support. You can read about and help to support one of four tapir conservation and research projects here:

I wish I could show you more of the actual work that's being done in the field. It's been a goal of the Tapir Preservation Fund to make more of the material available. It is labor-intensive to get the work from the field onto a web site, and I simply haven't had as much time as I'd like to devote to this area. (Volunteers are welcome!) More and more projects are developing their own sites, and we've linked to the ones we know about. It's a lot of work for anyone involved - the research and conservation aspect, and then the proposals and marketing on top of that. There is always so much more going on behind the scenes than can be presented. If you're interested in a particular project, the Principal Investigator (PI) will probably have proposals or material you can read. Just ask and we'll help you contact them. You can also read about ongoing tapir projects on the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group web site. Thanks so much for your support and interest!

Carved wood baby tapir available!

Dear Tapir Fans and Friends,

One more carved wood baby tapir is available in our gift shop. The tapir was carved by tapir scientist and artist Sergio Sandoval of Colombia. You can check out the details while the tapir is still available on our new gift shop web site. The carved tapir will someday have a new home, but we'll leave his or her picture on the blog "forever"!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One of my all-time favorite pieces of tapir art

I was cleaning up the hard drive and looking for mis-filed things (most likely not mis-filed, but filed with a logic that made sense at one time). Anyway, I came across these photos again and will re-file them with a logic that hopefully will prove longer-lasting! This ceramic lowland tapir, about 9 1/2 inches long and 4 3/4 inches tall, was made by Sergio Sandoval of Colombia. We got about seven of them from him one year and promptly sold them on eBay and our online tapir store. (I saved one for myself.) The detail and charming appearance of this piece makes it extra special to me. The eye is finished in a high gloss, while the rest of the body is matte. I wanted to put these photos online for all to enjoy. I'm still working with Sergio to import more of the items he either makes or purchases from indigenous people in Colombia. It's a fun project for me and brings interesting things into our two stores - the original Tapir and Friends, and the new one.

I had planned to put discontinued tapir items online in a special gallery, but that's been slow going, as other projects take precedence. However, I'll make an effort to get more of them on the blog. We actually do have a tapir Art and Craft Museum in five parts, one for each species and one "generic and unknown." Possibly they should all be linked from one page, but you can get to them all from here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thanks for thinking of us!

On Friday we received a surprise check for $100.00 and a wonderful letter:


My travelling companion and I were strolling the river walk back in April of this year, having come to town on a cruise ship. We were thrilled to find your store! Who'd have thought, a preservation organization up in chilly Astoria focused on preserving a tropical species.

By the way, the adorable Coati Mundi that I purchased that day sits atop my computer monitor at this very moment.

I've had a soft spot in my heart for Tapirs ever since encountering an Asian tapir at the Stone Zoo in Massachusetts as a child. Enclosed is a small donation for your general fund.


Eugene in Oakland

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Baird's tapir born at Summit Zoo, Panama, July 5, 2008

On July 14, 2008, friend and tapir fan, Alex Cardenas, sent this clipping from his trip home to Panama. He wrote: "While in Panama, I saw this article in a local newspaper, about a baby tapir "BAYANO," born in Panama's Summit Zoo on 5 July. . . . "Bayano" is also the name of a large river in Panama, and it was the name of a black slave who escaped from the Spaniards in Panama and led a revolt against them back in Colonial times."

Welcome, Bayano, and thanks so much for sending this, Alex! I enjoyed learning the historical background of the name, too.

Click on the article for a bigger image.

~ Sheryl

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More visibility for tapirs! Thank you!

Pamela wrote to us on August 5, 2008:

Thanks for offering and shipping the wonderful new stuffed tapir. My son used his birthday money (which arrived right at the time you began taking pre-orders) to buy it and he is entirely satisfied -- thrilled would be more accurate. Even though he is 15, he has been taking it around the house with him and letting it perch on his shoulder; he really likes the wired legs which make the tapir posable. Here he is "modeling" Yanisa, while wearing the tapir shirt he got LAST year for his birthday. August loves doing his part to make tapirs more visible!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Unique carved wood tapir from Colombia

UPDATE: There were no bids on our auction, but you can now purchase the tapir online from our new web site. Check out the tapir and other interesting palo de sangre wood carvings from Colombia!

Original post:

Dear Tapir Fans and Friends,

This charming tapir was among the items we recently purchased from Colombia. Hand carved of palo de sangre wood (bloodwood) it is definitely one of a kind. There were two carved tapirs in the current shipment, and the second was of a completely different shape - it also had a broken foot, which is one of the hazards of importing crafts. I have never seen another palo de sangre tapir that looks like this one. Every shipment is checked thoroughly for drugs by US customs when it comes into the country through Miami, but don't get me started on what they do to the objects and how they repack the boxes! Suffice it to say that many of the items are damaged. We are always thrilled when a beautiful piece such as this one comes to us completely unharmed.

THE TAPIR: This lowland tapir was carved by an artisan who lives in the lower elevations of Colombia near the Amazon basin. It measures 6 inches (15 cm) long and stands 2 1/2 inches (6.5 cm) tall. See below for more information on this beautiful red wood.

THE AUCTION: August 15 to August 25, 2008

Submit your highest bid by e-mail or phone (503-325-3179 - Oregon, USA) along with your contact info: Name, location, e-mail address and phone number(s). We do not need payment info at this time. At midnight (Pacific Time, USA), we'll look at all bids. The winner will be the highest bidder, and the price will be $5.00 over the top price of the 2nd highest bidder. Bidding starts at $50.00.

Please be prepared to pay by credit card at the time you win the auction. If we already know you from previous purchases, we may accept a check or money order. If we cannot contact you within 3 days, we will offer the tapir to the next highest bidder. If you know you will be out of contact at the time the auction is over, please let us know and we'll keep the tapir for when you get back.

We'll ship anywhere in the world. Shipping will be $6.00 in the US for Priority mail, and $2.00 over the actual rate charged by the post office in other countries. This usually works out to about $10.00 to $12.00 US. If you want expedited shiping or special services, we can do that at the time of shipping.


Palo de sangre is the Spanish name for this rich red wood. The English translation is "bloodwood." It is the heartwood of the trees Brosimum paraense and Brosimum rubescens. The sapwood is yellowish-white. According to Wikipedia, "Palo de sangre has a fine texture and takes a high polish. The wood is very hard and has a tendency to blunt tools. The wood is used in decorative woodworking and woodturning . . . . The Nature Conservancy considers this tree to be "secure within its native range." Other sources give additional names: muirapiranga, satiné rubane, cacique, and cardinalwood (due to its red color). It keeps its color, and does not turn brown with age like some highly colored woods.

Palo de sangre is carved into wonderfully attractive and charming animal figures in Colombia and other regions of tropical America. The bright red color is a natural property of the wood, as is the highly finished shine on the surface (evidenced by the reflected light in the photo). These animals are not varnished, stained, or painted, but come to you in their spectacular natural finish. Fortunately, the artisans who carve them are not restricted by any means or conventions to a particular template, so you get the benefit of each individual's vision and creativity. The wood also varies somewhat from one carving to the next as far as natural color, grain, and markings. The motifs themselves are repeated (crocodiles and manatees are common; tapirs are less common), although availability depends on circumstances.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A heartwarming donation and letter

First, I like to start blog posts with a photo, and I came across this cool picture either from the Santa Barbara Zoo in California, or the Virginia Zoo. I wish I had labelled it at the time. It was sent to me in 1996, and the date on the photo is June 2, 1996. The difference in size between mom and baby Baird's tapir is clear to see. I love the poses, and it's one of the rare photos in which you can see the stripe pattern on the baby's back.

This post is actually about a mother and her son and the son's friend. They are not tapirs, but humans. Kay wrote to us in June 2008, and included a check for $77.15:

My son Maxwell collected this money for the tapirs. We have a couple of them here at our Fresno Chaffee Zoo and he has taken a real interest in them. He researched them online and found your website. He printed out pictures and created a notebook with facts and photos. He along with his friend Bronson did a presentation to their 5th Grade class, and over the course of 2 months of passing a jar around with pictures of tapirs on it managed to collect this money.

He also started a T is for Tapir Club where they wear their T-shirts and go around telling everyone how great [tapirs] are.

When I called your organization to find out how you would like me to send the money (not a box full of loose change! Ha! Ha!) I was told you could send a certificate to each of the boys. I know that would make them feel good so I'm going to put their addresses at the bottom.

Thank you and give a tapir a hug for us!

Kay in California

Friday, July 04, 2008

Baird's tapir skeleton

Photo of Baird's tapir skeleton courtesy of
and copyright by Carol Schaffer

For englargement, click photo

See image even bigger (full size)

This skeleton photo was taken by Carol Schaffer at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, in 2008. Tapir fan and friend Annemarie sent it along with Carol's agreement that we could post it online. Thanks to both of you! The skeleton has apparently been on display for many, many years. I have a print online in The Tapir Gallery in black and white taken (probably) in the 1970s by Robert A. Wilson. It's not as clear as this one by Carol, so I was very happy to have a chance to post this image. Click the photo to enlarge. The text says,


Tapirus bairdii

Tapirs are forest-dwellers of the moist tropics. With the side toes present, the foot is broad and flexible, and is useful in swimming and walking on soft ground. The teeth are simple and low-crowned. In this species a vertical bony plate forms a partition between the nostrils.

Tapir species can be identifed easily from their skulls. Baird's tapir is the only one with a full bony plate as described above. The Malayan tapir has a much smaller partial plate attached at the lower resting point of the plate you see here, while the lowland and mountain tapir have no hint of this septum.

The big guy at the left is not a tapir, but seems to be watching over the smaller Tapirus. Possibly it's a titanothere? If anyone knows, please send a note!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New tapir art by Mary Beaird in our CafePress store

Dear Tapir Fans and Friends,

These whimsical romping tapirs were drawn and donated to the Tapir Fund by English artist Mary Beaird. Check out the pet dishes, wrap-around design on mugs and steins and the bumper stickers we've made available in our CafePress shop. As with our TPF online gift shop, proceeds help support tapir conservation in the field!


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Brand new stuffed tapir on the way!

This newly designed, completely charming stuffed tapir is coming soon to Tapir and Friends Wildlife World Gift Shop online. Check it out and pre-order for shipment in August 2008. Our initial stock will be limited, as these quality stuffed animals are made my hand and imported in small numbers. We think that he/she is gorgeous! We hope you do, too.

Mountain tapir design available on coffe mugs and more

Tapir fan and Club Tapir supporter Mary Beaird of England send us this adorable original tapir artwork to use as a fundraiser in our CafePress TPF gift shop. Check it out! The mountain tapir "Peace" image appears on mugs, mouse pads, journals and more. I love the Andean-theme detail of the tapir's hat!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tapir Mola Art from Panama on T-Shirts and Gifts

Check out the beautiful tapir mola design in our new CafePress store! Your purchase helps save endangered species and their rainforest and Andean habitats. If tapirs are to be saved, people have to recognize them and care about their future. Help shed some light! Wear your tapir shirt and hat with pride! Send postcards and gifts that depict tapirs. Tell your friends what they're about. Let no one have to ask that sad and outdated question: "What is a tapir?" Does anyone ask, "What is a horse?" "What's a rhinoceros?" Let's have fun, flaunt some style, and promote these four endangered species! HELP SAVE THE TAPIRS! YEAH!

NOTE: I had to take down the design you see here because the photo resolution wasn't high enough. After much experimenting, I used the "twin" to this mola. It is slightly different from the one above, but more similar than different. These two mola designs are exceptional. I no longer have the one above, as it was sold on eBay. The molas are like twins and came stitched together. You'll see minor differences. Every mola is individual, which is part of their endless fascination for the many people who love them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

May 17, 2008: More elephant-elephant-hippo-rhino Stuff by Mary Beaird

All images in this post are copyright Mary Beaird
and have been transferred from the "Tapirs" Google Group
where Mary posted them on May 17, 2008.
Text is by Mary Beaird.)


I thought I'd just give you a quick update on what's been happening in "Keanu's World". My first ever commision! Last year one of my work colleagues asked me to design her civil partnership invitations. Originally she wanted tapir versions of herself and her partner, but it proved too hard to put the clothes on them, and so I drew the happy couple normally and reinvented the guys as purple cherubs. Keanu is causing chaos as usual ... ^_-

Then we were asked to design new badges for the comics group to sell at events, and I reused the designs for "The Little Angels" set. I'll let you know how they get on, and I may have some more made independently. If I do, I'll be sure to send some to the Tapir gift shop.

[Editor's Note: Check out Mary's designs on shirts and other useful items in her online Zazzle store.]

Please e-mail your photos and text if you would like to see them on this blog.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.
Join WORLD TAPIR DAY on Facebook.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Donate to help save tapirs ~ Club Tapir projects for May are now online!

Lowland tapirs, Argentina

Asian tapir, Sumatra, Indonesia

Baird's tapir, Mexico

Mountain tapir, Colombia

Above are four photographic hints about the current Club Tapir Projects. One is brand new, three are old favorites. Vote for one, vote for several. Your votes = dollars for tapir conservation! Check them out and place your vote. This month we have all four tapir species represented by projects you can select. One hundred percent of your voting dollars go to the winning project. The Tapir Preservation Fund pays the administration costs, including costs to wire or send money to the winner. This month, our matching funds have run out, so every vote we can get is needed to help fund the project. These are wonderful conservation efforts. Please take a look!

We had some very close voting in April. The winners for March and April will be posted soon. April was so busy here that I never got the Club Tapir page updated. Thanks to your persistence and generosity we had votes and a winner anyway. I'm writing this from my laptop on the road and I must get moving, so . . . updates for those two months will be available soon!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mountain tapir caught on film in Ecuador

The location is near the southern tip of Ecuador. "This is the first camera trap photograph of a Mountain Tapir taken at Tapichalaca, although they are occasionally seen." That's about all I know for now. You can read more about the World Land Trust's project via these links.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

World Tapir Day Photo by Sergio Sandoval

Sergio Sandoval has sent this adorable photo of a very young mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) in honor of World Tapir Day. Sergio wrote:


I want to share with you and the Tapir Day people the picture that I use on my IM. I think it's very cute. It was taken in 2005, and this baby tapir is from the Huila region in the Central Andes of Colombia. It was taken near Pitalito, Huila. Nowadays, if still alive, this tapir must be nearly 3 years old. But nobody knows what's going on with him/her.



Send your World Tapir Day photos (a tapir photo in honor of the day, or photos of World Tapir Day events, how you spent the day, you in your tapir shirt, etc.) and we'll put them on the blog. Just click on the link on the right side of this page to see all posts with WORLD TAPIR DAY PHOTOS! See more pictures on the TAPIRS Google Group.

Happy World Tapir Day! (2008)

Baby Lowland Tapir at Chester Zoo, UK, by Mary Beaird to celebrate World Tapir Day, 2008 Originally posted by ebichu64
On the Tapirs Google group
Chester Zoo, England ~ April 27, 2008

Mary wrote:

Happy World Tapir Day everyone! My visit to Chester Zoo with my partner and a couple of friends was great. We arrived just before the tapirs were let out and fed, and surprise surprise, there were four - not three as I'd been told by the zoo only a week before. I need to find out whether it's a boy or a girl and what the name is, but here's a picture of the little sweetheart - taken through glass so not the best quality. . . .

The tapirs were pretty impatient to be let out, but of course, as soon as they were, they decided they'd much rather be back inside again! Well, it was a bit of a cold wet day really. Such sensible creatures! I've taken a lot of pictures and some video - of the tapirs and the zoo generally - and I'll start editing it all together tomorrow into, hopefully, something fun.

[See plans for World Tapir Day 2010 on the World Tapir Day Facebook page!]

Please e-mail your photos and text if you would like to see them on this blog.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.
Join WORLD TAPIR DAY on Facebook.

It's World Tapir Day!

This is Bintang, one of the Malayan tapirs born at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle during the time Heidi Frohring was their keeper and best friend. Heidi sent me this photo in December 2000. You can just see Heidi behind the tapir and its wreath made of foliage. She found many creative ways to use plants and other tapir food to keep the animals interested and occupied. Over the years she sent wonderful photos, creative pictures with heart. Someone else must have taken this photo, since Heidi is in it. (If you took the photo, please let me know and I'll give photo credit.) It embodies the same spirit as many of Heidi's own photos. The tapirs become real to us through their expressive faces and gestures, or the photos captured them in lighting or a moment that is memorable and touches something within us. We relate and we care.


Personally, I'm celebrating World Tapir Day not so differently from other days. Making blog posts, working on the web site, sending animal toys and gifts to people who order them online, e-mailing others involved in the tapir world. Also typically, I'm wearing a tapir t-shirt and (since this is the Pacific Northwest, after all) wearing a tapir sweatshirt over that. Next week I'll be visiting Seattle to celebrate my birthday and to meet Wilson Novarino, a tapir conservationist, researcher, and educator from Sumatra, Indonesia. The Tapir Preservation Fund has helped in a small way to support his work since we met online nearly a decade ago. I'm certainly looking forward to meeting in person, and of course, to renew acquaintances with the wonderful staff and the tapirs at Woodland Park Zoo. I have a few friends in that city as well. It will be fun. I'll be sure, as always, to wear tapirs and take my camera!

Whatever you are doing today, the FIRST ANNUAL WORLD TAPIR DAY, please think of these animals and look forward to a world in which more people will know of them through your efforts and to care about their conservation. Wear a shirt from the Tapir Gift Shop or CafePress (search for the word "tapir"). Or make your own wearable tapir art. Talk to people when your shirt becomes a conversation piece! I recently bought myself a mouse pad of the mountain tapir on the tapir items page, and immediately Lee asked to have it, as he has also fallen under the spell of the tapir. Anthony Long, who came up with the original idea for World Tapir Day, has provided tapir items you can buy in his World Tapir Day Store on CafePress. Proceeds from your purchase will go to tapir conservation projects, and this year's funded project will be April and the other Baird's tapirs at the Belize Zoo. During the summer months, tourism slows down and it's always a struggle to get enough money to feed the animals. If we all pitch in, we can help ease the burden this year. Sharon (the zoo's founder and director) is an amazing person who has done so much to create a climate of conservation awareness in Belize and an awareness among locals and tourists of Belize's wild animals. She's created many conservation models in Belize that really work and have been an inspiration to others in the field. Let's help her feed the tapirs this year!

Fortunately these days when you google tapirs, you come up with a lot of material. Try it, it's fun! Meanwhile, here are just a few links relevant to this post:

The Official World Tapir Day Website
Anthony's Tapir Blog
April's recent birthday party
Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle

Friday, April 18, 2008

Stefan announces some very good tapir PR

This announcement was made by my friend and tapir colleague, Stefan Seitz. See below for the 2nd double-page spread in the magazine.


The famous German TV + radio magazine “Hoerzu” (transl.: Listen) published a tapir story in its recent issue. The editor talked with me about my dissertation and refers to me in the text. He also quotes the TSG [Tapir Specialist Group] website and mentions the tapir symposium! Have a look at it!

I have the document in better resolution if you need (6 + 4 MB).


You can visit Stefan Seitz's 4Tapirs web site for more tapir info and pictures.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tapirs and the survival of fruiting plants

A Baird's tapir on the Macal River in Belize
Photo by Sharon Matola, 2001

There is an interesting note in this article on Shifting Baselines that helps put modern-day tapirs into perspective regarding their role in helping to preserve not only the rainforest, but life on Earth as we know it. The photo above could not be taken today, as a dam on the Macal River has so drastically altered this vital ecosystem of Belize that it no longer functions in its ancient capacity. To quote the final sentence of the article: "They warn that the fast-paced decline of those animals in many forests today poses a serious threat for these unique [fruiting] plant species." I recommend reading the whole thing. It's an eye-opener.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Announcing World Tapir Day: 27 April 2008!

What an exciting event! The tapirs are finally getting a holiday of their own! Anthony Long of Australia has been working night and day to put together the first World Tapir Day. This is truly an event whose time has come! It arrives with a new and beautifully-designed web site, some must-have tapir t-shirts, and a conservation initiative to donate funds raised from the sale of merchandise to the Belize Zoo for Sharon Matola's ongoing and ground-breaking conservation work. Please read more about why she can always use funding on the World Tapir Day Web site.


World Tapir Day Official Web Site

Anthony's Excellent Tapir Blog

World Tapir Day discussion and announcement on Google Group: TAPIRS

World Tapir Day Merchandise on CafePress

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Baird's tapir in Corcovado - rare night image

Baird's tapir photo by Tim Stahl

Kendra Bauer sent this haunting photo on March 17, 2008. She wrote, "I have attached a picture of our last tapir knock down, I love this picture with the tapir highlighted at night." The tapirs periodically need to be anesthetized so they can be monitored for health and so that their radio-collars can be checked and maintained. See the next post for more information. Also see Kendra's Baird's Tapir Project web site. Click on the photo for an enlarged view.

Baird's tapir in the mud

Here is a link to a couple of photos on the TravelPod blog showing a Baird's tapir cooling off in the mud in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. It's one of Kendra Bauer's radio-collared tapirs. Although it's an adventure to get there, this is one place that tapirs are often seen in the wild by visitors.

Here is a link to Kendra's web site. I found some interesting info on this page. I thought it was particularly worth reading because we are just beginning to learn some of the basic biological information about tapirs through projects like this one.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"The Tapir Gallery - Welcome!" Has it really been 12 years? Yes!

March 15, 2008. Twelve years ago today (March 15, 1996) "The Tapir Gallery" opened on the Internet. There's still a dated notice at the bottom of the page. The tapir picture you see above welcomed guests. I remember cutting out a printed photo of the Malayan tapir I'd taken at the Amsterdam Zoo, slapping it onto a piece of paper and putting it in the scanner. I vaguely remember having taken the print off of another piece of paper, because you can see the glue marks on the tapir's rear end. Somewhere near the bottom or top of the tapir it said "Welcome," because I was trying out the caption feature of images. I liked it and I left it for many years. The quality of online photos has improved, and web design and code has sure come a long way, although the current Tapir Gallery maintains a kind of "Old Internet" charm, and I like it that way. The links work, and you're not going to confuse it with every white-background site with graphic navigation and a cookie-cutter format. The Tapir Gallery is homegrown and honest. That doesn't mean it couldn't be improved, and I'm currently in the midst of upgrading as time permits. Remember those old signs, "This site is under construction"? Eventually we all figured out that a web site is ALWAYS under construction! Or it should be.

If you'd like to see how the site looked by November of 1996, here is a link. No, I didn't have to save the archive, but sometime in the last few years I discovered a very cool web site called The Wayback Machine. It archives web sites. For certain years it has archived the Tapir Gallery main page numerous times, and other years maybe twice. Here you can see the site's list of links to saved main pages for The Tapir Gallery. Sometimes it saves most of the photos and links and sometimes not. It's a trip. You can track the site through time.


I first began to learn HTML during a hospital stay in January 1996. Typically, I didn't just take an easy book to read and try to relax, but I took the folder of bills that had to be paid, and - much more interesting - I took a bunch of printouts from the web on how to code HTML. I actually read them, and in a week when I came back home (I was living in the tiny town of Palisade, Colorado), I began coding. I had no idea what was in store. To say that this exercise changed my life is a minor, minor understatement.


People have asked me through the years why the Tapir Preservation Fund doesn't have its own separate URL and why the site is called The Tapir Gallery, and not The Tapir Preservation Fund. The real answer is, it all just grew out of my home page, which I started in January 2006. And here's a link if you want to take a gander at how that started! I envisioned the Tapir Gallery not like an art gallery, but like the great halls of a natural history museum - also called galleries. The URL was, because there was a book I had self-published under the imprint of Tapirback Books. Anyway, when I married Marco and we moved to Colorado, he started an AutoCad drafting business and named it Tapirback Enterprises. We had some other business ideas, too, so "Enterprises" seemed like a good idea. Things evolved, things changed, but the URL remained. I kept growing it like a tree with branches and never had a great desire to separate the parts physically. I have tried to clarify the Tapirback home page so you can find the main sections easily.

From almost day one The Tapir Gallery attracted a lot of visitors, as it was probably the second tapir site on the Internet, the first being a site developed by a teenager named Jamie, who loved tapirs, and who I would like to acknowledge here and remember. If I can find his Tapir Net (or TapirNet) on The Wayback Machine, I'll make a link. He posted long encyclopedia references on tapirs (which was virtually all the actual info you could find online about tapirs in those days), and had a neat graphic where you could click on the parts of the tapir and they would enlarge in a circle for a better view. His site icon photo was a pic of a lowland tapir labelled Central American Tapir, I remember that. It was hard to check up on such mistakes in the early days. Printed books notoriously had hundreds of mistakes about tapirs, and that's where he'd obtained his information. I suggested he change it, but he never did. I think he was upset that The Tapir Gallery grew and became easier to find on the searches. We're all still struggling with that one as the web continues to explode. I remember when I could catalog nearly all of the tapirs online and put them in links lists. But those days are gone. A culling of "best of" or "my favorites" is about all that can be done. There is now so much material on tapirs that a person can usually get good data and make comparisons. It's also a lot more fun for tapir fans.


I'm pleased that The Tapir Gallery is still a useful resource. Also in 1996 The Tapir Preservation Fund was born in Colorado, and 18 months later gained its Federal 501 (c) (3) nonprofit status. As these aspects of my work grew and the gift shop that supports it needed constant attention like a baby for its first few years, the actual tapir data and photos on The Tapir Gallery became less and less current. During this 12 years, I've enjoyed going back to serious site work at intervals. Recently I've begun seriously to work on it again, and plan to keep on coding with new design ideas and thoughts about what content is relevant in this decade given the sources that have grown up around us all. It's still fun, it's still a challenge, and it still attracts loads of visitors who, hopefully find what they're looking for. What more could I ask?

Happy Anniversary, Tapir Gallery . . . and many more!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Two tapir species in one - enjoy!

There are so so so many mistakes in photos and literature regarding tapirs, the mistakes could fill a book. In fact, Stefan Seitz (IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Member and Editor of Tapir Conservtion newsletter) based a large part his PhD thesis on mistakes people make when looking at tapirs. It's an interesting topic and someday I'll pull my examples out of the files. Meanwhile, this is a very interesting link. Nice drawing, but two species in one!

While I'm at it, I enjoyed this blog of pictures of the Pantanal in Brazil including a couple of interesting posts with tapirs. Take a look at the March 12 post. You'll have to scroll down. Actually, this link will bring up all three tapir posts. In post 2 (March 17) I love the fox trotting after the tapir!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Belize: Sharon Matola's attempt to stop the dam and save the scarlet macaw and Baird's tapir

This book (The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird) is bound to be an incredibly interesting and thought-provoking read. I'm going to buy my copy from today. Sharon's comment to me was: "I hope it leads into a major discussion in many circles about the need to work to preserve what is left."

In small part, The Tapir Preservation Fund helped Sharon in this struggle through your donations to Club Tapir. We did what we could. I wish we could have done more. It was a long and arduous struggle for her, often dangerous and lonely. She is a fighter, and only someone of her calibre could have continued the fray. In the end, sadly, they built the dam.

I'm looking forward to reading the book. When it first came out a few weeks ago I tried to find it at Barnes and Noble, but could only remember the title of the review, not the book. The New York Times Book Review by Elizabeth Royte was powerful. The name? "Of Crime and the River." That tells you something. Discover magazine has just posted an excerpt from the book online. It talks about Sharon, who is as colorful as the macaw. I've met Sharon several times and worked with her when she was Chair of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group and I was her Deputy Chair. It was a memorable time, a privilege. Anyone who knows Sharon knows that she is a tremendous advocate of tapirs and knows how much she has done for their conservation in Belize. This is, of course, how I learned about the dam and the situation. Saving the tapirs in that area was important, but even more critical was the fact that the Macal River (named for the macaw) provide the only known breeding grounds for a subspecies of scarlet macaw, Ara macao cyanoptera, estimated in 1999 to number less than 200 in Belize. We saw the area on a trip to Belize a couple of years ago, and I can only say it's a terrible shame that the dam was finally built. I'll post some photos of the area when I can, or try to get some.

Historical info and a few letters on The Tapir Gallery web site


Another and much longer excerpt of the book appears online on the New York Times site under "First Chapters," and here is an article online about Belize by the book's author, Bruce Barcott.

Extinction: This review (Our Broken Home) by Barcott is also well worth reading.

Here's another commentary on the book, including some interesting facts.

May 30, 2008: Having now finished the book (I'm posting this on May 30, 2008, but I finished it a few weeks ago, I can say it was an amazingly good read - one that you don't want to end. It reads like a good novel. I learned more about Sharon, more about her fight against the dam and the reasons it became such a struggle. Really, it is worth hearing the story. Among other things, I learned much I didn't know about macaws and their habitat. I can't think of more enticing words at the moment, but the details of the book were fascinating. There is yet another review of this book, published today. It's worth reading the review, but also the first comment following the review. It seems Belize has begun to move on with a new level of governmental integrity. While the message may be, "Don't judge the new Belize by the old cover," it is still a valid and valuable book. It's a story that should be told for any number of reasons. I am sure that it often takes the light of awareness and people brave enough to speak out to create positive changes. The macaws may never come back, and it's a sad chapter, but harpy eagles once again soar over the Mayan ruins and the jungles of Belize, and this is thanks to the woman who will not give up.

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