Tapir like to be near the water of the Amazon rainforest and river basin.
That’s a huge area stretching from Venezuela in the north all the way down to Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay in the south. They move quickly on land, even over rugged, mountainous terrain and are equally at home in the water.
The Lowland tapir (sometimes called the Brazilian tapir or South American tapir), is one of four species in the tapir family, along with the mountain tapir, the Malayan tapir, and Baird’s Tapir.
The thing that stands out most about the tapir is his funny looking nose. It’s actually prehensile or capable of holding onto things, which means they can use it like a small version of an elephant’s trunk.
Our Lowland tapir are currently part of a European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP). They are classified as vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List. Because they live in rainforests, the destruction of their home is the biggest threat to their survival.
Lowland tapir questions and answers
They were a lot bigger than I was expecting… They are quite big aren’t they? In fact they are the largest wild land animal in South America.
Are tapirs related to pigs? No they’re not actually. Although you would think it to look at them wouldn’t you? It’s actually believed to be most closely related to horses and rhinos.
19.09.08 Folly Farm Zoo. Pic: James Davies.
Do tapirs live in large groups? No they don’t. Completely the opposite in fact. They are very solitary animals so they like to be alone. The only exception to this is during mating season or when a mother is nursing her baby.
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