Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris)

About the lowland tapir

Even though the lowland tapir is from the family Tapiridae, it is distinct in appearance from other tapirs due to its large stiff mane (also known as a crest), which goes from its shoulder to forehead. The main habitat of the lowland tapir is temporary flooded zones, and it can be frequently seen visiting salt licks. The lowland tapir has large teeth that are perfect for grinding up plants and seeds, and a prehensile (capable of gripping) snout, which it uses to reach for leaves and fruits. Its vision is generally poor, while its sense of smell is acute. The lowland tapir is primarily nocturnal, but in places without humans it can also be active during the day. It is generally a solitary animal. Lowland tapirs can be aggressive in defense of their babies or when they are caught in the wild.

Status and threats

The lowland tapir is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN RedList. It faces many threats, of which the greatest are illegal hunting for human consumption, habitat loss, and competition with livestock. Hunting laws protecting tapirs are rarely enforced, and are therefore ineffective.