Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF) ~ Catching up on donations and funding ~ What have we been doing?

A recent e-mail from Caitlin gave me the excuse I needed to post some numbers and an explanation:

December 16, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

Thank you for asking what we've been doing in 2009, since the Tapir Gallery Web site has not been updated recently. It seems that the last thing I get around to is putting current info on the site. This is truly unfortunate, and it should be done regularly. We've been keeping busy over here, as you'll see in a minute. I kept looking for a good format for donation and disbursement info on the site, and came up with several formats that didn't really work. The format is hard to understand and is incomplete. At least I should put it on the info on the blog, and I do have some clarity for public announcements in 2010. For now, here it is what I have for the past four years.

None of the years addressed on the web site as it is right now reflects the whole picture. Here are the actual totals going back to 2006:

. Contributions income: $3,452
. Donations from TPF to the field: $2,700
The difference was used by the Tapir Preservation Fund internally.

. Contributions income: $10,415
. Donations from us to the field: $19,492
The difference was paid from our gift shop sales.

. Contributions income: $4,972
. Donations from TPF to the field: $17,467
The difference was paid from our gift shop sales.

2009 Year to Date (Dec 16)
. Contributions income: $3,261
. Donations to the field: $2,951
We still have money to send to the field, see below.

2009's donations went to:
. Wilson Novarino (Sumatra, Asian tapir)
. Sergio Sandoval (Colombia, Mountain tapir genetics)
. Kendra Bauer (USA/Costa Rica, Baird's tapir)
We will soon be sending over $1,000 to two projects, one of which is still to be determined.

What we've been doing with our time this year is that we've been improving the gift shop. We installed a new shopping cart to be up with the times (and our old one was discontinued by the credit card company), and that was a huge effort getting everything to work right. We've been upgrading the store in many ways and trying to make ends meet in the slow economy. Hopefully this next year I'll have time to work more on the tapir web site and also work more with various tapir colleagues working in the field. I have ideas for new fundraising projects, and I may think about bringing back Club Tapir once the economy begins to recover. It became more time-consuming than it was worth for the amount we collected in donations.

Many thanks to all of you who have helped with your ideas, photos, and donations!

Here's to a creative, productive, and prosperous 2010 for everyone. . . .

All the best,


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is this too cute? Baby Malayan tapir photos from Antwerp Zoo . . .

These are some of the best tapir photos I've ever seen. They were sent recently by Inge, taken at the zoo in Antwerp, Belgium. They're so striking, so nicely photographed, I'll just let them speak for themselves! (Thank you, Inge!!!) If you use them other than for your own enjoyment or as a school project, please, please credit the photographer. If you need more information, contact me at

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ten special mountain tapirs

Mountain Tapir Replica or Figurine
Special Note

This piece was made in Colombia for the Tapir Preservation Fund by researcher/artist Sergio Sandoval. We have only 10 available as I write this on September 25, 2009. WE PROBABLY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET ANY MORE due to new laws about testing of paint and plastics on any item that could be construed as a child's toy. Sergio would be happy to make more tapirs for us, but we don't know how Customs will view this item if we were to import them. We could call them a collector's item or figurine, but if the Customs Department believes they could be considered a toy suitable for a child 12 or under (and they are made of a durable plastic material), each shipment would be required to enter the country with a certificate of testing that would cost about $1800.00. The actual materials are safe, and the paint is a non-toxic paint made in the U.S. We imported these tapirs before testing was required. Unfortunately, we don't think we will be able to do it again. We do expect to continue to import wood carvings and other art from tapir range countries including Colombia - items that are clearly not for use by children.

Your purchase helps us support tapir conservation in the field.

Our Mountain Tapir Replica/Figurine

This realistic-looking mountain tapir is made of strong resin (you would almost think it was ceramic) and it stands firmly on its 14-toed feet. It is black in color with white highlights along the ears and around the mouth. "Mamadanta" (mother tapir) is 4 1/4 inches long and 2 3/8 inches tall. She shows distinctive and accurate detail of the fur and toes, as she was made by Tapir Specialist Sergio Sandoval of Colombia. Our mountain tapir figurine has an affectionate expression and makes an excellent gift or toy for children or adults and could work well for school show-and-tell or as a school science project. It may also become a valued item in anyone's tapir or animal collection. Check out our other tapir toys and gifts.

About Mountain Tapirs

The mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) is the rarest of all the tapir species with only about 2,500 left in the world. It is also the smallest in size and the only one that lives outside of tropical rainforests. It ranges high in the Andes of South America, exclusively in Colombia, Ecaudor and Northern Peru, where it spends long solitary hours, sleeping or nibbling fruits and leaves. The adult mountain tapir, called "danta" in Colombia, weighs about 300-500 pounds, has a woolly coat and white along its ear tips and around its mouth. Like other tapirs, it has a flexible nose or proboscis. It has four toes on the front feet and three toes on the back feet. The mountain tapir has been driven nearly into extinction by habitat loss and wanton hunting. Successful breeding programs exist at the Los Angeles Zoo and Colorado Springs' Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wonderful photo of Baird's tapir in water

Hi All,

Check out Nikon Sniper's blog post of a colorful photo he took of a Baird's tapir in the water at the Milwaukee County Zoo. It's quite an unusual picture, I think. Read the first two comments for more info.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This baby tapir is way too cute!

Check out this link on ZooBorns, and click on the video. Get ready for the first few seconds of the video showing the baby tapir CHEWING. I can't describe it, but you'll see for yourself. A visitor in our store today is a big tapir fan and told me about this link. Thanks, Kit!

Have fun, everyone :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Nice tapir photo

I'm not going to use someone's photo without permission, so you'll have to link over to Flickr to see this Asian tapir at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. The photo is by "Swhise."

Monday, June 01, 2009

Excellent tapir airticle in the NY Times

Malayan Tapir Research in Asia Read about the tapir conservation work of Carl Traeholt in the New York Times article, "New Research on Malaysia’s Odd, Elusive Tapir." It reports on current work in the field of tapir conservation in Southeast Asia and gives up-to-date population estimates for the species. This photo of a tapir caught by the camera trap is from the Times article. My thanks to Jordan Shenhar for bringing the piece to my attention.

Not only is this an excellent article, but it's good news for the tapirs to be featured in such a prominent publication!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Corinna Sara Bechko - multi-talented tapir advocate

Hand-made Tapir Jewelry For quite a few years now, Corinna Sara Bechko has been making jewelry for our online gift shop. She creates tapirs and other animals and has the most amazingly artistic assortment of beads that she pairs with the animals. Earrings and pendants come with beads - pins do not. If you ask for a blue bead, you'll get a blue piece of art, whether it's the simply elegant blue bead above, or something with an elaborate design. In any case, they always set off the jewelry to a T. No two pieces are ever alike!

I was excited to find that Corinna was interviewed on the Shrimp Salad Circus blog the other day. Please go on over and take a look! Corinna and her Etsy store (The Frog Bag) are the subject of the post. She has been donating a portion of her sales to the tapirs. She's also conducting a give-away on her blog. Check it out and win one of her most amazing hand-made zoology-inspired cat toys.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chiloquin, Oregon's, Hub City Chrome Mystery Tapir

NOTE: I now believe this animal to be Indricotherium, although with a shorter neck. We've had fun with it. Read on. . . .

A number of years ago, a tapir fan (I think it was hyrax; if it was someone else, please remind me!) told me about this phenomenon - a huge tapir sculpture along a highway in "nowhere" Oregon that didn't quite look like a tapir. After I moved to Oregon, I thought I'd be on the lookout for it, and guess what? We drove past it purely by accident on May 6, 2005, on the way to Crater Lake. I just re-found the photos. It has some tapir characteristics, and some clearly not. But I can't think what else it was intended to be. Certainly they'd know what a cow looked like, or a horse, and this is no rhino.

I can't imagine anyone making a tapir without a long snout, and there was no broken snout, because the nostrils are placed high on the muzzle.

Hub City Chrome is located in Chiloquin, Oregon. Check out the Google map to see one of the strangest locations for a tapir-anything. Of course, we stopped and went inside to find out what they could tell us. They were not pleased to see us. "We think it was made in the '60s," they said, "but we'll probably tear it down. All it gets us is people askin' questions and blockin' up our drive-through, 'specially in summer. They don't buy anything, they just wanna talk." Well, fair enough, I guess, I know what it's like to try to run a small business when people take up your time and don't buy, but maybe they should leave the "thing" intact and put up a sign. It's an oddball attraction, for sure. Maybe they should start selling replicas. I hate to think that it could be gone by now, but the weather and time were not doing it any favors.

If it's an Asian tapir, it would have the white on the top, not on the belly.

And it has a cow's tail, but it's definitely not a cow.

The feet look more like they belong to a rhinoceros, but the legs are clearly tapir. This is all I know. The Hub City tapir remains a mystery. But if you're driving south from Bend to Klamath Falls, or north from Klamath, do check it out and let me know if it still exists, OK?

Tapir birthday cake in Australia

Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:09 PM

Subject: My tapir cake

Well there weren't many tapir cakes on the web for inspiration but I found yours. Here's what I came up with for a recent combined 4th & 66th Birthday occasion. The tapir is my Dad's favourite animal. He's the 'Grandpa' featured here, and the other birthday boy is on the right. Wanted to share this with some other tapir appreciators!




I love the photo of your family. I'm sure that many tapir fans will enjoy this! Thanks so much for sending them. Happy birthday to both of the "birday boys," and I have to say, your dad has a truly refined sense of what makes the best "favorite animal"! (Oh, look. The cutting board that the cake is on has stripes! Cool :) ~ Sheryl)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tapirs at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Thailand

These three photos have just arrived from Valeri Volodin of Russia. If you think you're looking at real tapirs in the top photo, you may be surprised. These tapirs are sculptures! Aren't they delightful? Click on the photo to get a closer view! The pictures were taken by Valeri at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo, about 60 miles south of Bangkok.

The photos above and below are of real tapirs at Khao Kheow. Valeri says, "It was very hot, so the tapir was not very active. By the way, they have a baby tapir there, but I didn't see him."

Valeri submitted the name for our popular stuffed tapir, Yanisa. Yanisa the Stuffed Tapir was named after Valeri's daughter, who is half Russian and half Thai. The name means "Wisdom" in the Thai language. Some of us believe that tapirs are the wisest of all animals, so the name is perfect!

Tapirs at Chiangmai Zoo, Northern Thailand

As in the post above, these tapir photos were sent by Valeri Volodin of Russia. Those in the post above were taken by Valeri, and the two shown on this page were taken by his wife, Chanida.

As always, thanks for sending them. I know the blog readers will enjoy seeing these tapirs and the zoos where they live.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Baby tapir born just in time for World Tapir Day!

Check out the large version of this beautiful baby tapir photo here:

(NOTE: A stock photo (above) has been used in this article. It's still adorable, of course, but it's not Tara and Toby's baby. Thanks, Elisabeth for pointing that out and sending the URL. You can see the baby here. I think the photo may have been taken when the baby was only a few hours old or less. On the video we saw someone crouching the stall taking pictures. Be prepared. This baby is CUTE!)

Many in the UK and elsewhere have been watching Tara and Toby since last December. Nobody guessed the delivery date would be so late in the year, because it's hard to know that unless you know the date of conception, and clearly no one did. Gestation is 13 months, and it was quite a waiting game. You can read comments as people waited and fell in love with Toby and Tara:

By following this link, you can also see mom and baby as they interrelate and as the new baby gets used to his new surroundings and begins to grow. He'll gain roughly 1 pound per day for many months. Follow the posts below the zoo's description of the tapir, and you can also copy the link to the YouTube video of the birth. I hadn't expected anything like Tara's reaction to the contractions. Personally, the only tapir birth I've witnessed was online, and the video clip started when the baby was about to drop. I'm kind of glad I didn't see the actual birth in real time and only checked the cam about two minutes after junior was born, because I would have thought I was watching Tara having pre-death convulsions! But I've now heard from a reliable source (a tapir vet, no less) that this sort of reaction is quite usual in ungulates.

April 27, 2009: Cartoon Tapirs by Mary Beaird for World Tapir Day 2009

Here's another fun bit of tapir art uploaded to the "Tapirs" Google Group by artist Mary Beaird to help celebrate World Tapir Day. Click the pic for a larger image!

Please remember to join us on the World Tapir Day Facebook Page, and learn how you can contribute to saving a piece of tapir habitat in the rainforest of Ecuador.

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.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tapir t-shirts, just your size

Tapir-lovers come in all sizes, and so do our t-shirts! We special-ordered this 4x "Living in Harmony on Planet Earth" soft and cuddly t-shirt showing all four species of tapir for someone who had requested it. That's Barbara, by the way, showing of the shirt in our storefront. As you can tell, we love being surrounded by animals! Back to the t-shirt: don't hesitate to ask! If we can get it for you, we will! We stock tapir t-shirts from kids' sizes to adult, and we'll special order for you if we need to!

World Tapir Day Goes Global - big celebration in Kuala Lumpur - check out the signs and masks!

We borrowed this fantastic image from The Star Online. Follow the link and see how Zoo Negara and KL Hop On Hop Off are promoting tapir conservation in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is one of the tapirs' native countries, and various entities within the country have been working to raise awareness of the need for tapir conservation for a number of years. The groundswell is growing, and it is so exciting to see World Tapir Day become part of the repertoire!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Patricia Medici and the Houston Zoo offer a guided tour to tapir country in the Pantanal of Brazil

Patricia Medici looks for signs of tapirs in the Pantanal of Brazil. Patricia Medici scouts potential tapir capture sites
for her radio-collaring project in Brazil's Pantanal.

Join the Houston Zoo and Terra Incognita Ecotours on a very special trip to Brazil's Pantanal August 23 - September 1, 2009.

Enjoy seeing animals and birds of the Pantanal region. The cost of your trip includes a donation to Patricia Medici's tapir conservation program. Read more about this remarkable opportunity on the web site of the Houston Zoo. For those of you who are interested in seeing tapirs, it is very possible to see tapirs in this environment, but a sighting is not guaranteed. As always, the animals tend to be elusive. However, the tapir popoulation in the Pantanal is relatively plentiful, and you may have as much chance to see them here as anywhere. This amazing habitat is rich with life, and your guide is experienced in the behavior of tapirs in the wild.

Click on the link above to read more about the tour on the Houston Zoo's web site. There you can also download a detailed PDF file with pictures of some of the Pantanal's exotic wild animals and descriptions of this special adventure guided by Patricia Medici and the Houston Zoo.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tapir art on a cell phone

In 2003, Katalin Pinter of Hungary programmed her phone with artwork of her favorite lowland tapirs, Samson and Mandula, and she sent me a photo of the phone. Thanks, Katalin, wherever you are! I'm sorry it took me so long to put it online!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Splash Damage Accidentally Starts Work on Tapir Wars Sequel

Originally posted by Anthony Long on "Tapirs" Google Group:

I'm a little late in posting it, but I've got there now:

Tapir Wars: Welcome to the Jungle™ is the semi-sequel to 2008's Odd-Toed Game of the Year Tapir Wars™. Set in Splash Damage's rich and unique Tapirverse™, Tapir Wars: Welcome to the Jungle gently nudges the boundaries of vegetarian warfare with a game that looks and plays exactly the same as its predecessor.

Tapir Wars: Welcome to the Jungle continues the story of an anonymous squad of elite tapirs who've seen it all as they blast, munch and cigar their way through the surprisingly sparse jungles of South East Asia, continuing their hunt for the rogue traitor mole double agent ninja zombie pirate mastermind only known as Nina who is also secretly a penguin.

To read more (and to be very jealous of the figurine), visit:

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.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Sixty-three beautiful photos of Mona the baby Baird's tapir

I've just finished uploading and captioning 63 photos of Mona the Baird's tapir from her first formal photo shoot in December 1970. I think it was the day after she arrived from Panama. She still had the rope around her neck from her trip up on a plane in a large crate. We waited until the photo shoot was over to take it off, because we didn't want her to run into the street! My brother-in-law at that time, Bruce Wilson, came out to Claremont from Los Angeles to take the pictures. He was either still at Art Center School for photography or had recently graduated, so the quality of these photos is excellent. I finally found a scanner that will do a nice job scanning negatives and slides, and I borrowed it. I'm very excited, because it's the first time I've seen many of these pictures in a format larger than a 35 mm contact sheet, and I've never had such nice pictures of Mona to put online until now. This should be the beginning of being able to convert other tapir pictures from my files when I can find the time!

Briefly, the story behind Mona is that Russ Mittermeier (later founder of Conservation International) found her in a market in Panama while he was still in college and had been studying on Barro Colorado Island. The people were selling her for only $50.00. He knew her real value as an endangered species, and because he had met us and Stanley Tapir, he figured we'd give her a good home. He put her on a plane and shipped her up to the US. We only had to pay her airfare and the $50 he'd paid for her. We suspected she was being sold, as is typical, for a pet until she grew big enough to kill for food. Even in 1970, if the captors had known what she was worth to a zoo or animal collector, they would have been able to get about $3,000 to $3,500 for her. We were so lucky, and so was she! We raised her to the age of about 8 months, and then gave her to the San Diego Zoo where she lived to the age of 24. She had a number of babies, which were traded as far away as Japan and China. One went to the Zoo in Santa Barbara, California, and I was able to see her.

Mona was only about the fifth Baird's tapir in captivity in North America at the time we got her. There had been one or two in much earlier years, but they were gone. In the early 1970s, the Los Angeles Zoo had a pair, and the San Diego Zoo had a pair. The pair at Los Angeles were potential breeders, but the pair at San Diego were not showing any signs of breeding, although they were old enough. The staff thought that Mona could help produce a viable US-born Baird's tapir, and in fact, shortly after she arrived at the zoo the original female got pregnant. I won't try to figure out tapir psychology on that level, but her presence may have had something to do with it. When she was older, she became a second mate for Titus.

Growing up, Mona was a sweetie. Stanley tapir was a biter from Day 1, and I had to consider him potentially dangerous, although I loved him a lot. Mona never bit, and she liked sucking on fingers. You can see her doing that in one of these photos. At the age of eight months, when we drove her down to San Diego in our van, we didn't cage her, and the only way I could keep her settled down for the hour's drive was to let her suck on my fingers again. It was a little daunting with all those teeth, but she was very good about it. I was so sad to let her go, but it was the right thing to do. Anyway, you can imagine how I felt seeing these photos scanned so beautifully. I have more photos of her and of Stanley that I'll get around to scanning someday. They're of lesser quality unless a long-lost proof sheet turns up, so getting a chance to work from these negatives was quite a treat. Enjoy the photo album, and thanks for visiting!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Mountain tapirs in Colombia

There's an interesting new post on Sergio's blog with a nice photo of a mountain tapir. He makes some good comments about mountain tapir conservation in Colombia. You can see the post and photo here:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tara Tapir - Live Tapir Cam

Tara tapir must be getting very close to giving birth now. She was breathing heavily last night, but today there's no new calf. She certainly looks ready. You might like to check in with the tapir cam link above and read some of the viewer comments beneath the text, too. Toby is also a favorite and it's fun to watch the two of them. They get along famously.

I printed a new URL the other day, but they've switched back to the one above. I also like looking at their other cams (not all animals, thought mosltly in the UK time zone):

There are several pages of cams to choose from.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Surprise photos of Stanley K. Tapir

It was a very special treat today when I opened my e-mail and found four photos of Stanley K. Tapir that I hadn't known existed. They were taken approximately March or April 1969. Barry wrote: "We used to have Sunday morning pancakes at IHOP and bring the left-overs up to your place for Stanley." Well, this is an episode I had completely forgotten. Here is Candace in four photos with Stanley. They brought back memories, for sure. Stanley was about four or five months old here. I'd forgotten that he had such a nice cushy bed inside the house at that age. It wasn't long before the big, strong tapir was completely relegated to a pen outdoors at the back of the house, and I know he didn't like that! In the picture above, the ever-curious tapir was checking out Candy's hair.

Here's Candy enticing Stanley to come outside using the leftover pancakes as bait. Of course, we gave the tapir regular feedings of a diet suggested by San Diego Zoo including alfalfa hay, horse meal (Trophy brand), fresh fruit and vegetables, but he would eat almost anything and had a particular fondness for most things that people eat. It's almost impossible to push a tapir anywhere (see the end of the post), but he could be led with bananas, pancakes, or anything that smelled really good.

Happy tapir. I'd forgotten that he had this much white under this throat. It seems to have faded with age, because I don't see it in his later photos - this one, for instance.

He's looking for the crumbs :) Big, big thanks to Barry and Candace! These pictures really made my day!

In the first paragraph, I mentioned that you can't push a tapir. You can try, but every time I've done it, even when the tapir was half the size that Stanley is here, he would lean back into me. I thought he was just being stubborn, but years later I heard something on a video shown on PBS by "the real horse whisperer," Monty Roberts. (This guy was amazing, by the way, find the video if you can.) He understood horse behavior so well that it was as if the horse heard his thoughts and did what he wanted. He simply knew how the horse would respond to a certain stimulus and behaved in such a way that would most times give him the reaction he wanted. Tapirs are related to horses, and I expect they behave the same way to the stimulus of being pushed or poked. They lean into it. Monty explained that when a horse is attacked by a large cat such as a mountain lion, it pushes toward the attacking claws. If it pulled away, the skin and muscle would rip and damage the horse terribly. By leaning back into the pressure, the horse may have a chance to disengage the claws before it runs or frightens away the cat. I've never seen this, I'm only remembering what I heard in the video. It would be interesting if anyone had further information.

Tapir art and video

I received an e-mail the other day from Elisabeth Nönnig of Hamburg with some nice comments about our tapir blog. She included a link to a drawing (shown above) that she had made recently and gave us permission to use it. Her description on the web page is: "some lowland tapirs in what i probably think a jungle in south america looks like (bamboo?!, trees, grass, vines, mud for tapirs to sleep in). i'm not used to drawing backgrounds, or plants, anyway. ballpoint and pencil. took 2 lectures to finish.)"

About the video, Elisabeth said, "This video is probably the best that i have to offer so far: ; it's from Duisburg zoo in Germany, but almost a year old and rather short. I live in Hamburg, Germany, and the local zoo has at least 3 lowland tapirs. They are very cute and they even come to the fence so you can pet them. I must remember to bring my camera next time I visit :) I've also been to Artis zoo in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, but the tapirs were inside and there was only a camera showing the mother and the new baby tapir."

Thanks very much for your contributions, Elisabeth!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

For the latest tapir cam news . . .

Please check out the first post and the reply on this page of our Google Tapir's group:

Briefly, there's a new URL for Toby and Tara at Noah's Ark Zoo and there's a brand new tapir cam installed in Manchester, all in the UK. If you get darkness on the Manchester camera, it could be night time. Toby and Tara's camera has lighting so you can see what's going on at any hour, as there will be a new baby tapir soon!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jordan visits the Houston Zoo: 35 New photos in our online Lowland Tapir Photo Album

When Jordan Shenhar and his family visited the Houston Zoo in February, they were given the royal tapir treatment. There's Jordan on the left wearing a lowland tapir sweatshirt he bought from our online tapir gift shop. Jordan has been a fan of tapirs for a number of years and a contributor to tapir conservation. I had told him to let me know if he was planning to visit the Houston Zoo, and he remembered. One day I got an e-mail saying that Jordan and his family were indeed planning a visit, so I contacted Kelly Russo (on the right) who is a very active member of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group. As the Houston Zoo is also a huge supporter of tapirs and tapir conservation, it all worked out. Jordan got to pet a tapir, we ended up with some amazing photos to share with you, and it looks like the tapirs had a pretty good time, too. The tapir in the photos is "Casaba," an older female lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) and long-time resident of the Houston Zoo.

See all 35 photos in TPF's online Lowland Tapir album! Big thanks to Jordan and his family for these photos and to the Houston Zoo for their permission to use them. Jordan and I will continue to work on the captions, but I wanted to get the pictures online ASAP. The link above goes to the first photo in the series.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Check out two new tapir blogs!

Sergio Sandoval Arenas
with a young mountain tapir,

Two tapir researchers and conservationists who we've worked with over the past few years now have their own blogs! In the case of Sergio Sandoval, above, the blog is a personal presentation, where we'll be able to learn more about him, his work, and his country, Colombia. We are working on a new donation page for Sergio's tapir work. He has contributed many of the items in our online gift shop through his own artistic talents and by purchasing products for us that are made in Colombia.
Georgina O'Farrill,
Baird's Tapir Project,
Georgina's blog is about her tapir project in Mexico. Both Sergio and Georgina have been recipients of our Club Tapir donations (your contributions!), and we continue to support both projects when your donations allow us to do so. We'd like you to learn more about these projects and the people who dedicate their time to them. We look forward to watching both of these blogs grow! You can donate to Georgina's work via our online donation page (scroll down to the Baird's tapir projects). This page is new and growing!

If you have a tapir project with a web site or blog, please contact me so I can link to it as we continue to develop the connectivity that helps fund projects and helps all of us learn more about the projects and the scientists who run them. If you have a project that you think we should include on our donation page, please contact me.
The photos on this page are copyrighted by
Sergio Sandoval Arenas and Georgina O'Farrill.

All the best,


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Interesting lowland tapirs at Twycross Zoo

Hi All,

One of our "TAPIRS Google Group" members, skoop102, posted some really interesting photos over there of lowland tapirs at the Twycross Zoo, UK. Let me know if you have any input on the questions these photos bring up, OK? Here's the discussion about those tapirs.


Monday, March 02, 2009

March 2, 2009: Twycross Zoo, UK

Lowland Tapirs at Twycross Zoo, England, by Sarah Cooper Photos contributed by Sarah Cooper (skoop102)
First posted on the Tapirs Google group
December 11, 2008

Sarah wrote:

Hi All.

I have added a few photographs from my recent visit to Twycross Zoo, UK.
A new pair of Brazilian tapirs are now on show.

This pair demonstrate the range of colours which 'they come in.

The female on the left has a very black face, and the male has a very pale face. She also had a very wrinkly snout and ears. He has hair sprouting from the base of his ears.

It is also to be noted that this pair both have some spots remaining on the legs (though not very visible on this photo), despite the fact that they are a few years old.

I believe they are called Muffin and Pele.

Lowland Tapirs at Twycross Zoo, England, by Sarah Cooper
[Note: There was more to this discussion, which I'll transfer as I continue to work on dismantling the Google Group Tapirs discussion site. ~Sheryl]

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.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A lowland tapir at Yasuni National Park Biological Station, Ecuador

I never know what will show up in my in-box. Yesterday was a treat. Xavier Cornejo, an Ecuadorian botanist currently working in the New York Botanical Garden, sent us some photos of Carla, a lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) who regularly visits the Yasuni Biological Station in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. Xavier was visiting the station in Yasuni Biological Station to study some families of plants for the Flora of Ecuador project, when he met his first tapir, Carla. Yasuni NP is in the rainforest on the border with Peru. Note the long hair of Carla's mane and the strip of long hair on her back. I've seen this one or two times, and I'm still trying to remember where. It may have been on a Baird's tapir. I remember thinking, "So this is what the books were referring to." It's extremely uncommon in the tapirs I've seen. Does anyone have observations on this?

Here's Xavier meeting Carla. Continue down the blog to learn more about the friendly Carla and her relationship with the research station. Carla is about 2 years and 2 months old here, and April 7, 2009, will be the two-year anniversary of her adoption by the station. Carla is free to come and go as she pleases. She enjoys visiting, and you'll hear about that in a minute.

Xavier is just over 5' 8" tall (1.78 meters), to give some idea in relation to the tapir.

Xavier and Carla are waiting outside the dining hall of Yasuni Biological Station. Did anyone say "food"?

This photo of Carla as a baby was sent by Pablo Alvia, who currently works in the Yasuni National Park. The age estimate give is approximately four months, but I wonder because she still has so many stripes. Does anyone remember if there is a photo study of the way juvenile lowland tapirs look at various ages? Carla made her first appearance at the biological station on April 7, 2007. The photo is labelled "Dantito," a little tapir.

Xavier said that Carla (as an adult) is a very quiet and nice animal. It seems that temperament varies extremely from one tapir to the next. I raised two (one lowland male and one Baird's female). I got each one as a striped baby, and the male was a biter from the youngest age, while the female never tried to bite even up to the age of 8 months, at which time she went to live at the San Diego Zoo. I should also mention that tapirs are large animal with strong jaws, and they are also curious. Sometimes they will simply nibble on things to test them, and you don't want that thing to be your fingers! I mentioned tapir temperament to Xavier, and asked a lot of questions. He replied with the following e-mail:

"I'm a biologist specialized in botany. I know something about some wild species of animals from Ecuador, but unfortunately I know nothing about Tapirs. Somebody told me that that Tapir from Yasuni National Park (NE Ecuador, Orellana Prov.) is a female, and is fed with bananas. In one of the photos (with me) she is resting outside the restaurant of the Biological Station, looking throught the window, waiting for somebody to feed her. I was stroking her neck (she likes it), but a couple of minutes after that photo (with me sitting on the ground), she was smelling me and relatively softly bit my leg, that scared me a bit because she is a huge animal. I noticed that she didn't like when I stroked her nose and close to her eyes. That tapir is the pet of the Biological Station of Yasuni National Park, she lives there and freely walks in the night. The first meeting with her was some minutes before while I was pressing the plants I collected during the day. My plants where organized in piles, she suddenly appeared in the darkness smelling them, looking for something to eat."

Oops! In the US we have a joke when you don't do your schoolwork; you tell the teacher that that your dog ate the homework. How would you explain that a tapir ate your botany project?

In addition to the pictures of Carla, Xavier forwarded two photos taken by Pablo Alvia of a lowland tapir skull housed at the Yasuni Biological Station:

Above: Top view of lowland tapir skull by Pablo Alvia, Ecuador.

Side view of lowland tapir skull by Pablo Alvia, Ecuador.

The side view of the skull shows blackened molars. I'd like to ask the experts in the field to what they would attribute this condition of the teeth in the Yasuni National Park region of Ecuador.

Our thanks to Xavier and Pablo for their contributions to this blog. I have also added the photos to our lowland tapir photo album and lowland tapir album of natural history images. Copies of these photos are in the database of the Museum at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Feb 9, 2009: Sleeping Tapir

Photo by Lauren Faceski
February 9, 2009

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