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!


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