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.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Die Tapire (The Tapirs) - book available in German

The Tapirs
Edited by Sheryl Todd and Udo Ganslosser

Hi All, I was just browsing and found that you can order this book (in German only) from a web site in England. They ship worldwide. I edited the book (in English) along with Dr. Udo Ganslosser in 1994. It was translated into German for its only publication. I understand from Dr. Ganslosser that the hoped-for English language version is no longer planned. Some excellent authors contributed chapters, and I would like to see it come to fruition in English. I'm going to work with Dr. Ganslosser to make this happen when time and funds permit (as always). Meanwhile, here is one source for the book:

It looks like it's also available through the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Research Information System interlibrary loan:!689085!0#focus


What's New in The Tapir Gallery?

Tapir Bibliograpy
Reorganization of the bibliography section. Downloads available in English and German for Martin Stummer's 1971 article, "Wolltapire, Tapirus pinchaque (Roulin), in Ecuador."

TPF Blog
I've been making a lot of blog posts lately, so please take a look at this blog, from the top (newest posts).

What's New in the Tapir Gallery?
Not to confuse anyone with the note above (about new posts on the blog), I've also started using this blog to post what's new and updated on The Tapir Gallery web site. You can always click on the "new" label in the Labels list to the right (scroll down), and the "What's New?" posts will be collected for you. Or, you can use the link at the top right to see the "What's New?" posts. Try it! You can always return to the top of the blog with the "Show All" link above, the "Home" link below, or the link at the top right that says "THIS BLOG, FROM THE TOP." I mention all of these because I get focused on posting and it took me awhile to find some of them. Very cool! Navigation made easy for the web (in this case blog) person . . . me.

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