Group Title: Tapir conservation (Print)
Title: Tapir conservation
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Title: Tapir conservation the newsletter of the IUCNSSC Tapir Specialist Group
Uniform Title: Tapir conservation (Print)
Abbreviated Title: Tapir conserv. (Print)
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group
IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group
Publisher: IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group
Place of Publication: Houston TX
Houston TX
Publication Date: December 2003
Copyright Date: 2009
Frequency: semiannual
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Additional Physical Form: Also issued online.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began in 1990.
General Note: Description based on: Vol. 12, no. 2 (Dec. 2003); title from cover.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00095885
Volume ID: VID00014
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: oclc - 56897961
lccn - 2004215875
issn - 1813-2286


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Volume 12 / Number 2


Tapir Conservation

The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Edited by Sidn S. Waters and Stefan Seitz


* Letter from the Chair
page 3

* Tapir Specialist Group
Conservation Fund
page 5

* TSG Committee Reports
page 7

* The Malay Tapir
Conservation Workshop
page 8

* Current Project Updates
page 11

* News from Captivity
page 16

* Contributed Papers
page 18

* Asking the Experts
page 26

* Tapir Specialist Group
Membership Directory
page 30

See back cover and
page 2 for details.

Printing and distribution of the
Tapir Conservation Newsletter
is supported by the Houston Zoo,
1513 N. MacGregor, Houston, Texas 77030,
United States,


December 2003

"pl~) ~E

Tapir Conservation The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group


3 Letter from the Chair

5 TSG News
5 TSG Conservation Fund 2003
7 TSG Committee Reports
7 Update from the TSG Veterinary Committee
7 Update from the TSG Zoo Committee

8 Conservation
8 The Malay Tapir Conservation Workshop: A Major Success

11 Current Project Updates
11 Colombia
11 Ecology and Conservation of the Mountain Tapir in the
Central Andes of Colombia
13 Tolima Jimba Kush
14 Ecuador
14 Attitudes to Tapirs, Wilderness, and Wildlife Conservation
in and around Sangay National Park, Ecuador

16 News from Captivity
16 Publication Announcement for the Revised
AZA Husbandry Guidelines for Tapirs
16 Status, Origin, and Diet of Captive Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris)
in the State of Santa Catarina, Southern Brazil
17 Recent Births of Mountain Tapirs

18 Contributed Articles
18 The Age Structure of Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) in the Chaco
20 The Lowland Tapir in the Caraca Reserve, Minas Gerais State,
Brazil: Preliminary Results
23 Feeding as a Method of Environmental Enrichment for
Malay Tapirs (Tapirus indicus) at Nuremberg Zoo, Germany

Asking the Experts
How Old is an Old Tapir?

30 IUCNISSC Tapir Specialist Group Membership Directory

35 IUCNISSC Tapir Specialist Group Structure & Positions

35 Notes for Contributors

The large picture on the cover page shows a lowland tapir (Tapirus
terrestris) at a breeding facility in Arax6, Minas Gerais State, Brazil.
Credit: Clhudio Valladares-Padua.

a December 2003 Vol. 12


Editorial Board

& Distribution



SiAn S. Waters Contributions
CEI Consultancy Ltd., 14 Lindsay Garden
Tredegar, Gwent NP22 4RP, UK
E-mail: sian s

Stefan Seitz Layout & Graphics
Bonndorfer Strasse 19
68239 Mannheim, Germany
Phone & Fax: + +49 (0)621 47 14 28

Patricia Medici Chair, Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)
Avenida Perdizes, 285, Vila Sao Paulo,
Teodoro Sampaio, Sao Paulo, Brazil 19280-000
Phone & Fax: ++55 (18) 3282 4690
E-mail: or

Charles R. Foerster Deputy Chair, TSG
445 CR 221, Orange Grove, Texas, USA 78372
Phone & Fax: ++1 (719) 228 06 28

Sheryl Todd Subscriptions
Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF)
P.O. Box 118, Astoria, Oregon, USA 97103
Phone & Fax: ++(503) 325 31 79

This issue is kindly sponsored by
Houston Zoological Gardens
General Manager, Rick Barongi
1513 North MacGregor, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

Members of the Tapir Specialist Group receive the
newsletter free of charge.
Subscriptions for non-members are $10.00 per year
and can be obtained from Sheryl Todd,
Tapir Preservation Fund,

The views expressed in Tapir Conservation are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect those of IUCN/SSC, the Tapir Specialist Group or Houston
Zoological Gardens. This publication may be photocopied for private use only
and the copyright remains that of the Tapir Specialist Group. Copyright for all
photographs herein remains with the individual photographers.

/ No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Volume 12, Number 2, December 2003
Abbreviation: Tapir Cons.

From the Chair


Much has happened over the past six months. First of
all, I would like to tell you that the TSG has a new logo
- you can see it below and on the cover page of this newslet-
ter! Gilia Angell, an experienced web/graphics designer who
works for in Seattle, United States, supported
by Kelly Russo, communications specialist of the Houston
Zoo, worked together to create the logo. The development of
the logo involved an exhausting process of working on many

W- --


different designs based on the feedback from TSG members
until we reached a final design that seemed to appeal to eve-
ryone. For that, I am extremely thankful to both Gilia and
Kelly! After we were done with the logo, Gilia volunteered
to help us with the design of the new TSG web site and she
is once again relying on the group's feedback and support to
create the site. The domain (www.tapirspecialistaroup.orq)
has already been purchased and the site is up, although only
a few links are currently working. We still need a few months
to have all the information available on the site. Any sug-
gestions, comments, criticisms etc. will always be more than
welcome! We strongly believe that this new site will be an
excellent tool to promote the work of the TSG, to publicise
tapir conservation initiatives and projects and to raise funds
for tapir conservation. On another note, Kelly Russo and
Alberto Mendoza, Community Programmes Coordinator
of the Houston Zoo, continue to work on the development
of tapir and TSG brochures! Thank you, Gilia, Kelly and
The TSG Conservation Fund (TSGCF) finally became
reality and we conducted our first funding cycle in July. Most
of the funds were raised through the "Friends of TSG" cam-
paign conducted in partnership with the Tapir Preservation
Fund (TPF), and consisted of personal donations from tapir
researchers, supporters and enthusiasts worldwide. Once
again, I would like to thank those of you who made donations
for the campaign! The TSGCF only accepted applications
from TSG members for the 2003 funding cycle and seven
proposals were received. A TSGCF committee reviewed
each application and selected projects based on the merits
of each proposal and its significance for tapir conservation.
Three tapir researchers Ivan Lira Torres from Mexico,
Adrian Naveda from Venezuela, and Emilio Constantino from
Colombia were awarded small grants (for further details see
"TSG Conservation Fund 2003" in this issue). We are really
happy about this, and about the fact that after so many years
we are finally moving in the direction of being able to support

some projects financially. I will do my best to make sure that
our contributions are wisely used, always for the benefit of
tapirs in the wild and in captivity. Hopefully, we will be able
to raise a larger amount of funds in 2004 and fund even more
projects. Right now, TSG members and supporters have
been discussing some marketing ideas to better promote the
fund and some fundraising strategies to get more donations
for next year's cycle.

n August, we held the Malay Tapir Conservation Workshop
at Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia, which was a very suc-
cessful event. The workshop was organised by the TSG, the
EAZA Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), and the Department
of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), Malaysia. It was
facilitated by Dr. Phillip Miller and Amy Camacho, who are
members of the IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist
Group (CBSG). We had 35 participants from Malaysia,
Indonesia and Thailand, and also TSG representatives from
several other countries. The final outcome of the meeting

The Honorable Minister of Science,
Technology and Environment for
Malaysia, Datuk Law Heing Ding,
who spoke during the opening
ceremony of the Malay Tapir
Conservation Workshop, held at
Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia, in
August 2003.
Photo by Charles R. Foerster.

The Malay Tapir (Tapirus indicus)
was the focus of a conservation
workshop held in Malaysia, in
August 2003. The main outcome
of the meeting was an updated
action plan for the conservation of
the species. .
Photo by Charles R. Foerster.

was a revised and updated action plan, listing and prioritising
strategies and actions for the conservation of Malay tapirs.
The CBSG team is reviewing the first draft of the action plan,
and as soon as we have the final version of the document
we will print and distribute copies to all interested parties in
Southeast Asia. This document will also be incorporated into
the next version of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Status Survey and
Conservation Action Plan (1997), currently under revision.
The TSG would like to thank all those people and organisa-
tions directly or indirectly involved in the workshop, especially

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003

From the Chair

the staff of the DWNP in Malaysia, who organised the most
tiring and complicated part of any event, the logistics! Also,
we are extremely grateful to the Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark,
the major funding source for the workshop. For further details
about the workshop see the article "Malay Tapir Conservation
Workshop: A Major Success" in this issue.

Speaking of TSG events, we keep working on the organi-
sation of the Second International Tapir Symposium,
which will be held in Panama City, Republic of Panama, from
January 10 to 16, 2004. Currently, the planning committee
is working tirelessly to raise the necessary funds for the confer-
ence. As one of the fundraising strategies, the TSG, in part-
nership with the AZA and the EAZA Tapir TAGs, is approach-
ing all zoos and other institutions holding any of the four
species of tapirs worldwide to request contributions for the
symposium. Zoos are contributing and we are moving for-
ward with the organisation. The Second International Tapir
Symposium website ( is set up
for registration, and the planning committee has been receiv-
ing and reviewing abstracts.
TAPIR SYMPOSIUM The first part of the Symposium

speakers and paper and poster
S sessions addressing tapir biol-
ogy, research and conservation.
Some of the speakers already
confirmed are Joe Fragoso,
who has worked on tapirs in
2004 PANAMA Belize and Brazil for most of his
professional life, and will give a
keynote speech; Rick Barongi
and Lewis Greene, respectively former and present chair
of the AZA Tapir TAG, will make a presentation about the
recently developed Tapir TAG Action Plan; Bengt Holst, chair
of the EAZA Tapir TAG, will tell us about the activities of the
group and let us know about their plans for captive tapirs
in Europe; and Alan Shoemaker, will make a presentation
about two important documents recently published, the AZA
Tapir TAG Regional Collection Plan for Tapirs, and the Tapir
Husbandry Standards. Wally van Sickle with Idea Wild, Gilia
Angell with, and Kelly Russo with Houston Zoo,
will conduct workshops focusing on fundraising and market-
ing ideas for the TSG. Anders Gongalves da Silva, a Brazilian
researcher who is doing his Ph.D. at Columbia University, and
Javier Sarria from Colombia, will conduct a workshop on
tapir genetics. Phillip Miller with the IUCN/SSC CBSG will
conduct a workshop about Population and Habitat Viability
Analysis (PHVA) and action planning for tapirs. Susie Ellis
with Conservation International will once again help us with
the facilitation of the TSG planning workshop. We are all very
excited about this upcoming symposium and we are expect-
ing more than 100 participants from over 25 countries.
During the past months, we have added five new mem-
bers to the Tapir Specialist Group. Ms. Siti Khadijah Abd
Ghani and Mr. Carl Traeholt from Malaysia, field coordinators

U December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2

of the Malay Tapir Project recently established in Krau Wildlife
Reserve, Malaysia. Siti and Carl are doing an amazing job
in Krau, and I am certain that they will be able to contribute
a lot to our activities regarding the conservation of Malay
tapirs in Southeast Asia. Mr. Anders Gongalves da Silva
from Brazil, who, as I mentioned before, is currently doing his
Ph.D. at Columbia University working on landscape genet-
ics. Anders is planning to develop a major genetic study
for Latin American tapir species all over their range and will
present his initial ideas during the upcoming symposium in
Panama. Don Goff, Director of Animal Programmes for the
Beardsley Zoological Gardens, and AZA Studbook Keeper for
lowland tapirs. Joe Roman, Curator of the Virginia Zoo, and
AZA Studbook Keeper for Baird's tapirs. Both Don and Joe
have been keeping the studbooks for many years and have
constantly supported the work of the AZA Tapir TAG and the
On another note, it is with regret we had to accept Dr.
Nico van Strien's wish to step down from the position as the
TSG Malay Tapir Coordinator. Nico has done a tremendous
job for the TSG during the past three years and his constant
contribution will be missed. Nico will continue as a member
of the group and will certainly keep helping us in Southeast
Asia. In view of this we had to look for another person
to take over this important role. During the Malay Tapir
Conservation Workshop in Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia,
we held a small TSG meeting in order to discuss potential
candidates for the position and there was a general consensus
that our next Malay Tapir Coordinator should be a person
from a Malay tapir range country. The process of identifying
the right person for the position will take some time. In the
meantime Mr. Carl Traeholt has kindly agreed to take over the
job on a temporary basis. I would like to thank Nico for all
his hard work over the past years and to welcome Carl to the
TSG and to the Malay Tapir Coordinator position.

A few months ago, Dr. Mariano Gimenez Dixon, Programme
Officer of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC),
informed us about recent progress regarding the IUCN Global
Mammal Assessment (GMA). The GMA will be a collabora-
tive effort of all the SSC Specialist Groups concerned with
mammals. For the collection of data, IUCN will provide
each Specialist Group with the "Data Entry Module" of the
Species Information Service (SIS) software, which will be a
way to jump-start data acquisition capabilities for the mam-
mal Specialist Groups. The data incorporated in this project
will not only serve the GMA, but will also go back to the
Specialist Groups to be maintained, managed, and continu-
ally updated as part of the SIS. There are various advantages
in using the data entry module as it will allow the collection
of information on species in an electronic format making it
easily available for future use; data will be entered using a
standard format and standardised authority files, which will
facilitate data entry and allow comparisons between differ-
ent taxa. Copies of the module can then be sent to different
Specialist Group members to enter information. This method

S. Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

From the Chair / TSG News

will allow the workload to be distributed between various peo-
ple and allow experts to enter information on their particular
species, while maintaining consistency in the overall process.
The information coming from different colleagues will then be
merged "centrally". It is envisioned that the GMA will take
two years to reach completion. In April 2004, IUCN plans
to conduct a comparative analysis of the conservation status
of mammals, birds, and amphibians. By this date, the con-
servation status of all the known species of these three major
taxonomic groups will have been evaluated (or re-evaluated)
according to the IUCN Red List Categories, allowing a com-
parative analysis. The TSG will be actively involved in the
GMA project.
Finally, I would like to tell you that I have just returned
from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA)
Annual Conference that was held in Columbus, Ohio, United
States. This was a very productive event for the TSG. Gilia
Angell prepared basic, simple TSG brochures that were widely
distributed during the conference along with copies of previ-

ous issues of the Tapir Conservation newsletter. During the
conference, members of the AZA Tapir TAG and myself made
sure to promote the upcoming Tapir Symposium and work on
funding possibilities for the TSG Conservation Fund.
Once again, I would like to thank Rick Barongi and the
Houston Zoo for sponsorship of printing and distributing the
TSG Tapir Conservation Newsletter!
The next months will be very busy, as always, and will
certainly bring lots more positive results and good news about
TSG. I will make sure to keep you posted!

Best wishes from Brazil,

Patricia Medici
Chair, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)
Avenida Perdizes, 285, Vila Siao Paulo
Teodoro Sampaio, CEP: 19280-000, Siao Paulo, Brazil
Phone & Fax: +55-18-3282-4690


TSG Conservation Fund 2003

By Patricia Medici

The Tapir Specialist Group Conservation Fund (TSGCF)
was recently established as a vehicle to raise and con-
tribute funds towards tapir conservation initiatives. The
organizations involved in the management of the TSGCF are
the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG), the Houston
Zoological Gardens, the Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF), the
American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Tapir Taxon
Advisory Group (TAG), and the European Association of Zoos
and Aquaria (EAZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG),
which are today the key groups working on coordinating and
implementing tapir research, conservation and management
programmes. The money in this Fund consists of personal
donations from tapir researchers, supporters and enthusiasts
worldwide, as well as contributions from conservation organi-
zations and tapir holding institutions and zoos.
A TSGCF committee reviews each application submitted
and decides to fund projects based on the merits of each pro-
posal, significance for tapir conservation, and several other
criteria. Grants are given to projects targeted at research with
wild and/or captive tapirs; projects targeted at restoration,
protection and conservation of tapir habitat in South and
Central America and Southeast Asia; education and capaci-
ty-building programs for local communities within the tapirs'
range in South and Central America, and Southeast Asia;

and implementation of the recommendations of the IUCN/
SSC Tapir Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. The
proposals must be cooperative in nature and have matching
funds. The fund does not support salary, tuition fees, scho-
larships, conferences, courses and meetings, or operational/
overhead costs for institutions or established projects and/or
programmes. The proposal must be scientifically significant
and sound, logistically feasible, must have a high probability
of success and clearly contribute to the conservation of tapirs
and their remaining habitats.
During the 2003 funding cycle, the TSG Conservation
Fund received seven proposals and three of those were selec-
ted for funding. On the following page, you can see the titles
and coordinators of each project, as well as brief abstracts
from each one. I would like to congratulate Ivin, Adrian and
Emilio for the excellent job they have been doing in Mexico,
Venezuela and Colombia respectively.

Patricia Medici
Chair, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)
Avenida Perdizes, 285, Vila Siao Paulo
Teodoro Sampaio, CEP: 19280-000, Saio Paulo, Brazil
Phone & Fax: +55-18-3282-4690

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003


TSG News

The Grantees of the
TSGCF 2003

Field Verification of Baird's Tapir Distribution in Oaxaca, Mexico:
An Important Step Towards a National Conservation Action Plan

Ivan Lira Torres, Mexico

Abstract: Baird's tapir is listed as an endangered
species in all Mesoamerican countries. This species
had a continuous distribution from southeastern
Mexico to northwestern Colombia, ranging from
coastal forests and wetlands at sea level to cloud
forests and paramos above 3,000 m. However,
high rates of deforestation, habitat fragmentation
and over hunting have restricted current tapir dis-
tribution to protected and/or remote areas. Given
the fast human population growth in southeastern
Mexico, it seems essential to maintain large pre-
serves for the survival of viable tapir populations.
It is also very important to identify large forest
fragments where tapirs remain in order to promo-
te habitat management, hunting regulation, and

other conservation practices in the surrounding
human communities. Within the country, it is
suspected that tapirs survive in some forested
areas of southeastern Mexico. Nonetheless, the
presence of these mammals has not been verified
in most of the potential distribution areas, espe-
cially those without protection. This project aims
to: (1) obtain field data to create an updated map
of tapir distribution in Oaxaca, Mexico; (2) identify
non-protected areas in the state where tapir popu-
lations still survive; and (3) to assess the isolation
of forest fragments large enough to shelter viable
tapir populations. These objectives are all inclu-
ded in the Action Plan's list of priorities for Baird's
tapir conservation (Matola et al. 1997).

Ethnozoology of Lowland Tapir in Venezuela

Adrian Naveda-Rodriguez, Venezuela

Adrian Naveda
from Venezuela.
Photo by
Sonia Hernandez-Divers.

Abstract: This project will study the different uses
and management of Tapirus terretris and its pro-
ducts (meat, skin, bones) by local people in two
states of Venezuela. We will interview hunters
and their families in order to gather information
on the relationship that they have with tapirs and
other wildlife species. With these interviews we

also hope to gather information on the biology
and local distribution of tapirs. The information
gathered will let us know the biomass extracted
and measure the local level of threat which tapirs
are under in Venezuela, at the same time the infor-
mation may be used for the design of manage-
ment plans.

Identification of Forest Fragments with Populations of the
Colombian Tapir Tapirus terrestris colombianus
and Strategies for its Conservation

Emilio Constantino, Colombia

Emilio Constantino
from Colombia.
Photo by Diego Lizcano.


Abstract: The Colombian tapir Tapirus terrestris
colombianus is one of the most endangered tapir
species in the world, due to its small range, the
destruction of its habitat and to over hunting.
Identification of the remnant populations needs to
be done urgently if remaining populations are to
be conserved for the future. Its habitat in central
Colombia is becoming highly fragmented due to
forest destruction and cattle ranching. Most of the
area is today in private hands, so the localisation
of remnant populations could lead to the estab-
lishment of private nature reserves and regional
strategies for tapir conservation. The best frag-

ments will be located by means of satellite image-
ry and aerial photography and also by interviews
with local hunters, biologists and conservationists.
Visits to several of those places will be useful to
confirm the presence of the tapirs, to assess their
local conservation status, to determine threats to
them and to propose actions for their conserva-
tion. Some of these actions could be to acquire
land for the establishment of new reserves, deve-
lopment of an educational strategy for the local
communities or other activities identified in the
Action Plan for Tapir Conservation in Colombia.

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Ivan Lira Torres
from Mexico.
Photo by Steve Divers.

TSG News

TSG Committee Reports

Update from the
TSG Veterinary Committee

By Sonia M. Hernandez-Divers and Donald Janssen

Note: The information on this document overlaps with tasks
accomplished as AZA Tapir TAG Veterinary Advisor.

The following tasks have been accomplished in the last two

1.) Responded to 71 emails in regard to health issues. The
majority of these questions came from abroad, with the
largest majority originating from Latin America. The
most commonly requested information dealt with the
following topics: reproduction/contraception, nutrition,
vaccination, immobilisation and questions about speci-
fic clinical signs.

2.) Summarised tapir mortalities in the North American
captive population from 1996-2002.

3.) Preshipment/Quarantine Guidelines for tapirs for the
Veterinary Advisory Group.

4.) Formulated a document, which outlines the rationale
for including a veterinarian in field projects.

5.) Formulated a list of health-related priorities for research
as a way to aid the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group
Chair in prioritising research needs.

6.) Created a document to guide field researchers who do
not have continuous veterinary assistance in the area of
biological sample collection.

7.) Summarised previously reported immobilisation
protocols in one document.

8.) Revised the updated version of the
AZA Husbandry Manual for Tapirs.

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Karin
Schwartz, ISIS Registrar, without whom we could not have
compiled the mortality survey.

NB: Copies of the documents not contained within this
manuscript can be obtained by contacting the TSG Veterinary
Committee Coordinator (shernz(

Update from the
TSG Zoo Committee

By Sian S. Waters

I was appointed the new coordinator of the TSG Zoo
Committee last December. The Zoo Committee has a mem-
bership of 16 people world-wide. New members include
Bengt Hoist from Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark who is the
European Taxon Advisory Group Chair for Tapirs, Aude
Desmoulins, the EEP studbook keeper for lowland tapirs
based at Lille Zoo in France, Angela Glatston, Curator of
Hoofstock, Rotterdam Zoo, Netherlands and Sheryl Todd
who needs no introduction! Kerry Crosbie of Perth Zoo is the
ARAZPA regional studbook keeper for the Malay tapir and the
member for Australasia.

The tasks for the zoo committee are various but we have
made some headway this year. Earlier in the year, Patricia
Medici finished and circulated a list of zoos that support con-
servation projects in situ. This was a major piece of work and
will be an extremely useful resource for TSG members.

A register for people who have expertise in keeping tapirs
in captivity has now been initiated and there are now 20 kee-
pers, vets and scientists registered from nine countries on the
database. If anyone is interested in registering then please
contact me by email with your name, position, address and
details of your experience with tapirs.

The most important task at present is to cooperate with
interested zoos on the development of educational signage
for tapir exhibits that will also include information about the
work of the TSG. A small sub-committee has been appointed
which consists of animal, educational and graphics staff from
various zoos to deal with this task. A number of zoos have
expressed interest in collaborating in this project and we hope
to have this off the ground by the end of the year.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any ideas,
suggestions or would like to help with the work of the Zoo

Sian S. Waters
TSG Zoo Committee Coordinator
E-mail: Sian s watersav) or
sian s waters(&

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003



The Malay Tapir Conservation Workshop: A Major Success

By Patricia Medici and Bengt Hoist

During the First International Tapir Symposium held in
Costa Rica, in November 2001, it became clear that
one of the biggest concerns among tapir experts was the
limited attention that has been given to the conservation
of Malay tapirs and that TSG should give this species prior-
ity. As a consequence, the TSG decided to organise and
hold a Malay Tapir Conservation Workshop in Asia. The
European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Tapir
Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), the IUCN/SSC Conservation
Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), and the Malaysian
Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) kindly
agreed to support this initiative and the first steps towards the
organisation of this important meeting were taken about two
years ago.

Habitat Threats Working Group. Photo by Charles R. Foerster.

The workshop was held in Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia,
August 12-16, 2003, and was a major success. The group
was formed by 35 participants from Malaysia, Indonesia, and
Thailand, with TSG representatives from several other coun-
tries also participating. Unfortunately, we did not have any
participants from Myanmar. Dr. Phil Miller and Amy Camacho
from the IUCN/SSC CBSG facilitated the workshop using a
Population and Habitat Viability Analysis (PHVA) format. The
PHVA is a very efficient and systematic working process that
gets all relevant stakeholders together, identifying status and
problems, and based on that generating research and estab-
lishing conservation priorities for specific species. It combines
a quantitative risk assessment tool with intensive discussions
and deliberations of the biological and social issues relevant

to the species conservation across its range. Taken together,
the risk assessment modelling and focused, stakeholder-driv-
en deliberations are designed to directly address the issues
affecting the species so that alternative strategies can be ana-
lysed rationally and systematically. When this occurs, better
conservation decisions and specific action steps with targeted
responsibility will result.
The first step of the workshop was to put together all
the available information and data about Malay tapirs.
Participants contributed scientific articles, data and knowl-
edge of the species and its habitat, and listed the major issues
related to Malay tapir conservation. Based on this, partici-
pants were divided into four different working groups:

1.) Distribution and Habitat
2.) Population Biology and
Simulation Modelling
3.) Habitat Threats
4.) Species Management

Each group had a series of tasks: (1) Identifying and defining
problems and ranking them in order of priority; (2) Developing
goals to achieve the change in the conditions identified in
the problem statement, specifying minimum and maximum
goals to achieve in the next five years, developing goals for
each problem and ranking the goals in order of priority; (3)
Developing actions to accomplish the goals identified under
the problems or issues, taking into account the scientific infor-
mation on the species, its habitat, and the threats identified.

Major issues addressed by the Distribution and Habitat
Group were related to collection, management, sharing and
storage of data in Southeast Asia. There is a lack of uniformity
and quality in data collection methods, coverage and human
resources (including officials and the general public). There is
insufficient unified management and weak international coor-
dination and collaboration. In addition, there is limited access
to land use data and rivalry between stakeholders. There is
a fear of unauthorised use, misuse and loss of control over
data. And, finally, there is lack of centralised, coordinated
and secure data storage.
The group listed several goals to deal with the problems
identified and three of them were considered to be major

To build the capacity of field staff to meet the
minimum requirements of the ASEAN

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group


occupational standards;
To build the capacity of personnel in data analysis
and interpretation;
To ensure sufficient data quality control at all
staff levels.

Priority actions listed by this group were:

Approach regional agencies and request they
incorporate/promote tapir conservation into their
planned training programmes for nationals to
meet ASEAN PA (Protected Areas) occupational
Widely distribute workshop outputs to relevant
agencies/institutions and field personnel.
Recommend to those agencies/institutions under
whose jurisdiction wildlife research and
management fall, that they ensure that each tapir
research project includes a training component for
local people (staff/community/students).
Develop/build capacity on data collection.
Develop a tailor made system reflecting the national
needs and capacity that can ensure collected data
are double-checked, crosschecked and deficiencies
Strive to obtain independent review of information
intended for public disclosure/publishing.

Major problems identified by the Population Biology and
Simulation Modelling Group were:

1.) A lack of understanding of basic tapir biology
and how threats impact on them.
2.) The need for alternative management scenarios.

The group listed the following goals:

Develop a greater understanding of basic tapir
biology and how human activities impact those
Evaluate alternative management scenarios.

Demographic parameters for Malay tapirs were discussed and
estimated, a basic model was developed, and several simula-
tions were conducted. Some of the most important results
from the simulations were:

1.) Probability of Extinction: The Malay tapir populations
simulated during the workshop, with all the assumptions
made, were able to maintain moderate or no extinction
risk in the absence of extraction (e.g. hunting) only if their
numbers were moderate to large (50 or more). If the popu-
lation is under extraction pressure, the numbers needed to
maintain low extinction risk are much larger, as much as 10
times more (500 animals). Furthermore, in small populations
a small increase in extraction levels (of only 5%) can double

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

the chances of the population going extinct. Because both
accidental and intentional extractions occur throughout the
Malay tapir's range, and because population numbers are low
at any given place, it is very likely that current populations are
at high risk of extinction within the next 100 years if no further
conservation actions are taken.

Dr. Phil Miller, IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG)
presenting the first results of the Population Biology and Simulation
Modelling Group. Photo by Charles R. Foerster.

2.) Growth Rate: The simulations conducted during the work-
shop also provided insights into the average growth of the
populations over 100 years given the combination of popula-
tion sizes and extraction rates. Under the "no hunting" sce-
nario, only populations with 50 or more individuals showed
a positive average growth during the entire interval. Because
the demographic stochasticity represented in the exercise was
conservative, it is likely that a larger number will be needed
to ensure positive growth. A 10% extraction rate will require
100 individuals or more; 20% extraction levels will require
more than 1,000 individuals. A population of 2,000 tapirs
was insufficient to maintain a positive growth under 25%

3.) Genetic Diversity: Loss of genetic diversity behaved simi-
larly across all hunting scenarios, and was largely determined
by the size of the initial population. Populations of 20 to
50 tapirs were able to retain only 60% or less of the original
heterozygocity levels after 100 years. At least 500 individuals
were needed to ensure no loss. These results suggest that cur-
rent population levels are at high risk of genetic erosion over
the next 100 years.

Overall, the group concluded that despite conservative values
of demographic stochasticity and low extraction levels, tapir
populations must be maintained at high numbers to ensure
their long-term survival, growth and genetic health. Because
such high numbers are unlikely to be found throughout their
range, the Malay tapir is under considerable threat.

Vol. 12/No. 2 December 2003


Priority actions listed by this group were:

The design and implementation of two detailed
field studies (Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia) to
generate more precise estimates of selected
demographic parameters, such as density and
survival rates (primarily of adults).
Improvement/additions to our database on the
distribution of Malay tapirs throughout their range.
Design and implementation of a study to evaluate
the genetic diversity of Malay tapirs throughout
their range.
Assessment of the level of extraction of Malay tapirs
(hunting, by-catch, road mortality, etc).
Periodic addition of results from long-term studies
into a Malay tapir central database.

The Habitat Threats Group identified the following issues:

1.) Reduction in available habitat for tapirs due to
various legal and illegal processes including
concessions in protected areas, open or illegal
logging and expanding cultivated areas.
2.) Fragmentation of tapir habitat due to roads,
power lines, other human infrastructure, creation of
protected areas with or without buffer zones.
3.) Damage or destruction to habitat due to shifting
cultivation or vandalism.
4.) Deliberate killing for sport hunting or pest control,
or by live capture for pet trade, or incidental take
from snaring, ignoring restrictions on licenses.
5.) Mass tourism causing disturbance of normal
reproduction/behaviour leading to reduction in
available habitat.

The goals identified to change the conditions were:

No net loss of tapir habitat in core areas;
To minimise fragmentation of existing tapir habitats
and to reduce exposure of habitats to edge effects.
To minimise the negative effects of fires on tapir
To minimise the number of tapirs killed or captured
by humans.
To minimise the negative effects of mass tourism on
tapir habitats.

Priority actions listed by this group were:

To conduct awareness campaigns on the need for
conservation of tapir habitats
To create incentives and support for people on the
ground to enforce the law.
To include conservation concerns in land use

The Species Management Group identified the main issu-
es related to tapir conservation as being a lack of appropriate
policies, research, and public awareness.

Priority actions recommended by this group were:

Revision of policy regarding wildlife management
in Southeast Asia.
Conducting national level studies on resource
management, land use, development, biological
diversity, policies, and identification of sectors that
support tapir habitat conservation.
Fundraising for tapir research.
Training on in-situ and ex-situ tapir conservation
(e.g. population dynamics, species biology,
reproduction, behaviour).
Establishment of a global tapir forum.
Organise a NGO meeting on tapir conservation;
Establishment of an awareness campaign
(local people, hunters);
Organisation of a rural participatory workshop;
Creation of opportunities in tourism-related jobs.

Species Management Working Group. Photo by Charles R. Foerster.

Recommendations coming from all four groups were put
together and prioritised. The final outcome of the meet-
ing will be a very detailed and updated action plan, listing
and prioritising strategies and actions for the conservation of
Malay tapirs. The CBSG editorial team is reviewing the first
draft of the action plan, and as soon as we have the final
version of the document we will print and distribute copies to
all interested parties in Southeast Asia. Also, this document
will be incorporated as the Malay Tapir Chapter in the next,
revised edition of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Status Survey and
Conservation Action Plan (1997).
The TSG would like to thank all people and organizations
directly or indirectly involved in this workshop. First of all,
we would like to thank Nico van Strien, former TSG Malay

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Conservation / Project Updates

Plenary session. Photo by Charles R. Foerster.

tapir coordinator, for all his help and useful advice during the
organisation of the meeting. Also, we thank the CBSG staff,
especially Dr. Phil Miller and Amy Camacho, for helping us
to design the most appropriate format for the meeting. The
organisation of this workshop would never have been pos-
sible without the support from the Malaysian Department of
Wildlife and National Parks. We would like to extend our
gratitude to the Director for Research, Siti Hawa Yatim, Dr.
Kae Kawanishi and Ms. Ramlah Abdul Majid for all their hard
work organising the logistics of this meeting. Financial sup-
port for the meeting was kindly offered by the Copenhagen
Zoo in Denmark, our largest donor, and from the Wildlife
Conservation Society Thailand, the Department of Wildlife
and National Parks of Malaysia, and several other funding
agencies that supported partial or total expenses for some of
our participants.

Dr. Ardinis Arbain, Andalas University, Indonesia, presenting the final results of the
Species Management Group. Photo by Charles R. Foerster.

Patricia Medici
Chair, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)
Avenida Perdizes, 285, Vila Sao Paulo
Teodoro Sampaio, CEP: 19280-000, Saio Paulo, Brazil
Phone & Fax: +55-18-3282-4690

Bengt Hoist
Vice Director, Copenhagen Zoo
Chair, EAZA Tapir TAG
Sdr. Fasanvej 79, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
E-mail: beh()



Ecology and Conservation of the
Mountain Tapir in the
Central Andes of Colombia

By Diego J. Lizcano

n the tropical Andes, the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque)
is the largest mammal, eating a variety of plants, fruit and

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group .

seedlings, along tapir trails and in tree fall gaps (Acosta et al.
1996; Downer 1996). Studies in Bolivia's lowlands suggest
that herbivory by large mammals affects plant community
dynamics by reducing the competitive ability of faster growing
herbaceous species, which would out compete less competiti-
ve species (Painter 1998). But to date we do not have similar
data for the tropical Andes region. This research will provide
information regarding the importance of mountain tapirs as
Hunting in the Neotropics is important to the livelihood
of natives and colonist peoples of South America (Redford &
Robinson 1987). The growing human population and more

ol. 12 /No. 2 December 2003

Project Updates

efficient hunting technology increase the pressure on prey
species often to the point of local extinction (Bodmer et al.
1994). Usually the preferred game species are large herbi-
vores, like tapir, which have a greater predisposition for over-
harvesting because of their low reproductive rate (Bodmer et
al. 1997). Thus, the disappearance of large herbivores may
alter the structure and species composition of a forest. For this
reason it is important to understand why people hunt in the
tropical Andes and what the consequences are of this hunting
for the animal populations and for the forest.

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Study area in the Central Andes of Colombia.

This project is studying the ecological importance of the
mountain tapir in structuring the understory and canopy plant
communities of tropical montane forest. It is also looking at
how hunting of large mammal populations affects the ecologi-
cal role of these herbivores. In the proposed research, I am
studying the plant-animal interactions of mountain tapir in the
tropical Andean forest ecosystem and the causes and effects
of hunting on the large mammal populations in Los Nevados
National Park, Ucumari Regional Park and surrounding areas
in Risaralda state, in the Central Andes of Colombia.
A combination of observations and manipulative experi-
ments are being carried out. Twenty-five exclosures (3 x 6 m)

M December 2003 Vol. 12 /No. 2


using mesh wire and wooden poles and 25 control plots in a
nested design were located between 2500 and 3600 m. This
experiment will allow us to evaluate the impact of mountain
tapirs as herbivores on Andean forest. Specifically I am evalu-
ating the effect on biomass availability, structure and diversity.
The diet of mountain tapirs is being studied using microhisto-
logical techniques (Alipayo et al. 1992; Mclnnis et al. 1983)
and habitat use by sign counts. Hunting is being studied
using simple data forms, which are completed by hunters,
using methods of participatory research. The culmination of
this study will help us understand what happens if hunting
eliminates the mountain tapir population in the tropical Andes
region. The results obtained will provide additional insights
into the ecological functions of these herbivores, which will
enhance existing and future management plans for tapirs and
other large mammals in Colombia.
Data on mountain tapir habitat use will be useful to
CARDER (Corporaci6n Aut6noma Regional de Risaralda),
the regional environmental authority, who plan to increase
their protected areas system with the creation of a new protec-
ted area adjacent to Ucumari Regional Park and Los Nevados
National Park, the areas in which this study is being under-
taken. In addition, the information on hunting will be useful
to CARDER and the National Parks Office of the Ministry of
the Environment, to enable the improvement of protection in
their protected areas and to design strategies for the conserva-
tion of the most hunted mammals. New data on plant-animal
interactions underline the importance of mountain tapirs not
just as a species but also as a crucial component of the tropi-
cal Andean forest and Paramos.
This study received financial support from a Rufford Small
Grants for Nature Conservation, UK, Instituto Alexander
von Humboldt, Colombia, and an equipment grant from
IdeaWild, USA.

Diego J. Lizcano
PhD. Candidate,
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology
University of Kent at Canterbury, CT2-7NS, UK


Acosta, H., Cavelier, J. & Londofio, S. 1996. Aportes al conocimien-
to de la biologia de la danta de montafia, Tapirus pinchaque, en
los Andes Centrales de Colombia. Biotropica 28: 258-266.
Alipayo, D., Valdez, L., Holechek J. & Cardenas, M. 1992.
Evaluation of microhistological analysis for determining rumi-
nant diet botanical composition. J. of Range Management 45:
Bodmer, R. E., Eisenberg, J. E & Redford, K. H. 1997. Hunting
and the likelihood of extinction of Amazonian mammals. Cons.
Biology 11: 460-466.
Bodmer, R. E., Fang, T. G., Moya, L. & Gill, R. 1994. Managing
wildlife to conserve Amazonian forests: Population biology and
economic consideration of game hunting. Biol. Cons. 67:29-35.

S. Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group



Project Updates

Downer, C. C. 1996. The mountain tapir, endangered "flagship"
species of the high Andes. Oryx 30: 45-58.
Mclnnis, M. L., Vavra, M. & Krueger, W. C. 1983. A comparison of
four methods used to determine the diets of large herbivores. J.
of Range Management 36: 302-307.
Painter, R. L. E. 1998. Gardeners of the Forest: Plant-animal
Interactions in a Neotropical Forest Ungulate Community.
University of Liverpool, Liverpool.
Redford, K., & Robinson, J. 1987. The game of choice: Patterns
of Indian and colonist hunting in the Neotropics. American
Anthropologist 89: 650-667.

Tolima Jimba Kush

By Franz Kast6n Fl6rez

Jimba Kush or mountain horse is what the Nasa Wesh com-
munity (indigenous Paez people of the Central Colombian
Cordillera), call the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque). This
indigenous group migrated to the Tolima department from
the Cauca Department in the south of Colombia about a
century ago. The Nasa Wesh community has lived closely
with this species, now endangered due to natural resource
In 2000, an application to export a pair of wild caught
mountain tapirs out of Colombia to Asia failed. Colombia
conservationists proposed a plan that would lead to advance-
ment in the knowledge and preservation of this endangered
mammal in Colombia itself. In addition, the preservation of
this species must also have a positive impact on the quality of
life of the people that currently share their environment with
the mountain tapir. Today there is the opportunity to invite
the Nasa Wesh to share in the planning process.
The department of Tolima has three National Parks (the
parks of Hermosas, Nevados and Nevado del Huila) within
its boundaries. All these parks have tapirs and some degree
of protection is afforded to the species. However, there are
also mountain tapirs outside national parks that do not have
any legal protection. For this reason, the location of the
Nasa Wesh indigenous community in the Tolima Department
between the Nevado del Huila Park and the Hermosas Park,
directly links them with the future of this species and its habi-
The current situation of the Tolima Department that has
such influence over the future of the mountain tapir, is that
it has many farmers with various socio-economic needs; the
original landscape has been transformed into agriculture
including cattle ranching, potato, poppy and pasture cultiva-
tion. Furtive hunting of tapirs occurs and the opening of a
new highway to cross the Central Cordillera has also had an
impact. There have been armed insurgents in the area in the
past, but since a regional peace pact in 1995 with the Nasa
Wesh communities these problems have improved.
Internationally, it has become more and more evident

that people, organizations and zoos have become increas-
ingly interested and concerned about helping to conserve this
endangered species. With this in mind, a long-term strategy
has been in place since 2002 that will help overcome prob-
lems in the community and thus guarantee the preservation
of T pinchaque and its habitat in this region of the Tolima
The first step of this strategy is to ascertain the population
status of the species inside the indigenous territory. This is
presently being undertaken in collaboration with the Tolima
The biological and health research program will then be
followed by the controlled breeding of this species within the
indigenous territory and natural habitat of the tapir. This will
be in situ management, stimulated by the success obtained
with reproduction of this species in zoos.

Once the young tapirs are obtained, there will be two lines
of action:

1. The establishment of a core of individuals born
in the Central Cordillera that can be used as
support to interact demographically and genetically
with captive and wild populations;
2. Agreements developed with zoos exhibiting these
captive born animals outside Colombia could
channel important economic resources back into
the country to benefit local tapir conservation

These actions will help indigenous peoples and farmers
understand that the value of the mountain tapir goes beyond
food. It can become a positive resource to the communi-
ty involved in a world-wide effort to conserve the Andean
bio-system. It can represent jobs for members of the local
In the educational context, workshops have been and will
be conducted to inform the indigenous community about the
biology and conservation of the species and its habitat and
enable coordinated efforts.
It has been suggested that the mountain tapir be named
the Colombian national animal. This will help inform the
Colombian people about the species, establish it as an emblem
and thus emphasise the value of the tapir and the importance
of preserving biodiversity in the Colombian Andes.
We are all aware of how difficult this job will be but we are
enthusiastic about the fact that the region still has something
very important mountain tapirs in their natural habitat. We
hope that, as the designated objectives are achieved, the
efforts of the local peoples will not permit this species to dis-
appear from Colombia.
Additionally, DNA samples of different tapirs of the area
have been obtained and these will be used to measure the
genetic diversity of the population. This, together with health
evaluations, will allow for detailed knowledge regarding the
health and biological characteristics of these T pinchaque

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003

Project Updates

individuals from the Tolima locality and thus support the
conservation strategy.
Up until now, the tasks have been difficult because it
is not easy to obtain financial resources in Colombia to
develop these activities. However, we hope that by using
strategies such as the development of a poster showing
images, articles and providing information about mountain
tapirs and international contributions, we can overcome these
I want to thank Ovidio Paya (indigenous Nasa Wesh
Governor of Gaitania-Tolima) and Juan Carlos Escobar
(naturalist) and the other people who made the development
of this project possible. I am also grateful to Sheryl Todd
and Patricia Medici for comments on an earlier version of this

Franz Kaston Fl6rez
E-mail: tapirlanudo (

The Nasa Wesh indigenous
community plays a role in
conservation of mountain
tapirs in Colombia.
Photo by Franz Kaston Fl6rez.


Attitudes to Tapirs, Wilderness, and
Wildlife Conservation in and around
Sangay National Park, Ecuador

By Craig C. Downer


Questionnaire survey of 15 settlements around Sangay
INational Park between October 2001 and March 2002
attempted to reveal the current status of the knowledge, atti-
tudes and lifestyles of inhabitants living in and around the
Park that could have an impact on both the park, its tapirs
and other wildlife and the forest and paramo habitat. The
survey was undertaken using a standard questionnaire and
the results are expressed as percentages either of all adults
responding or of the total communities surveyed which had
each reached a consensus regarding the question asked. This
is a part of the original report.


Sixty percent, or 303 individuals indicated they hunted and
fished. All 15 communities surveyed contained fishermen.
Seven of the 15 communities (47%) had members who
hunted the common red brocket deer (Mazama americana)
and/or the little red brocket deer (Mazama rufina), which is
of Near Threatened status. Six of the communities (40%)
hunted many bird species. Three communities (20%) hunted
the Andean Guan (Penelope montagnii) and other species of

guan (Cracidae spp.). Five communities (33%) each hun-
ted the agouti (Dasyprocta punctata, D. fuliginosa) and the
white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) of the paramos.
Four communities (27%) hunted mountain tapirs (Tapirus
pinchaque) and wild guinea pigs (Cavia aperea, Cavia spp.).
In two communities each (13%), Andean bear (Tremarctos
ornatus), parrots, collared peccaries (Tayassu tajacu) and
white-lipped peccaries (T pecari), toucans, macaws, monkeys,
and various doves were hunted, including the black-winged
ground dove (Metriopelia melanoptera). Two communities
(13%) also hunted the lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris). One
community (7%) hunted the northern pudu (Pudu mephisto-
Of 569 adults surveyed, 358, or 63%, knew of the
mountain tapir, while 296, or 52%, knew of the lowland
tapir. However, the two species were often confused. Of
the 15 communities interviewed, nine communities, or 60%,
had members who had observed tapirs in and along rivers;
eight communities had observed them at salt licks; seven in
cloud forests; six in paramos; while five communities knew of
them through visits to local zoos, such as the one in Bafios,
or another, called "Fatima", near Puyo. One community had
observed tapirs at the community's well.
Six communities, 40%, indicated a shift in altitude by
mountain tapirs between the lower forests during the rainy
season and the higher forests and still higher open paramos
during the dry season. The Shuars of Wapu said the lowland
tapir is rapidly disappearing from the lower elevations of the
Park along the eastern pie de monte Andean flank. This
ancient tribe, a.k.a. Jivaro (Sp.), indicated that lowland tapirs
shifted down in altitude during rainier seasons in parallel

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Project Updates

fashion to the downward shift of the mountain tapirs.
Foods indicated by respondents as being eaten by tapirs
included: Nagran (Neurolepis aristata), various species of
grass (Poaceae spp), the umbrella plant (Gunnera brephogea),
plantain, bananas, herbs, ferns, potatoes, dittany (stonemint,
or dictamo real (Sp.)), Arquitecta (Sp.) (Culcitium reflexum,
fam. Asteraceae, by mountain tapir in paramo), Pogre (Sp.),
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum tuberosum), and mushrooms. Some
of these observations concur with those made in previous stu-
dies of mountain tapirs (Downer 1996; Downer 2001).
Season of pairing and breeding: December-January was
indicated for the mountain tapir, as has been confirmed in
Downer (1996). "All year long" also was indicated for both
When asked if the tapir hunts other animals, the
great majority recognized that tapirs were not carnivores.
Communities identified the following species as preying on
tapirs: puma (Felis concolor: six communities; Andean bears:
five communities; jaguars (Panthera onca): four communities;
humans: 11 communities; "Pumajaire" (Shuar), a mythical,
large, light-colored cat believed to hunt tapirs by the Shuars
of Wapu: one community.
Tapirs have religious significance to the Shuars, the
Puruhaes, and other indigenous groups around the park,
who believe they possess magical, including healing, powers.
Tapir parts of both species have been and remain for
sale in the cities and towns around the Park including Bafios,
Ambato, Riobamba, Macas, Rio Palora, and Puyo. There they
are sold both as medicines (especially hooves and snout) and
for food and/or pelts.
The survey found that 93%, or 14 communities, noted
the recent disappearance of both species of tapir. The town-
speople recognize that both the destruction of forest/paramo
habitat and hunting coincide with an augmented human
population (Cincotta et al. 2000). Respondents noted that
many other species were decreasing due to over-hunting,
habitat destruction, pesticides, and other causes.
Those respondents who were unaware of the law that
protects mountain tapirs amounted to 52%, or 350 partici-
pants and 72% of respondents were unaware of the boun-
daries of the Park. 77%, or 489 participants were unaware
that the mountain tapir was in imminent danger of extinction.
However, 71%, or 450 of respondents were aware that it was
illegal to kill any animals in the Park. Interestingly, four com-
munities, or 27%, had members who were aware that either
one or both species of tapirs were seed dispersers, or helped
to enrich soils through their droppings or, in general, contri-
buted positively to the tropical ecosystems they inhabited.


This survey has served to reveal a gap in conservation edu-
cation and law enforcement among communities surrounding
and intimately associated with Sangay National Park. This
Park has been designated as a "World Heritage Site" by
UNESCO, but has been placed on its "In Danger" list due

to the serious problems this Park continues to experience. A
more consistent and far-reaching education programme cou-
pled with sustainable development is essential if the Park, its
endangered and threatened tapirs, and other wildlife species
are to continue. The Andean Tapir Fund's future focus of
endeavour will follow considered outlines presented in the
Tapir Specialist Group's action plans (Downer 1997; Bodmer
& Brooks 1997) and incorporate new ideas from the group
as well as from local stakeholders, conservation officials, and
other NGOs. Please contact the Andean Tapir Fund to obtain
the full results of this enquiry.


The Andean Tapir Fund is grateful to ZGAP of Munich,
Germany, and to the Zurich Animal Protection Society for
their financial support for this project. The spirited participa-
tion of Xiomara Navas-Carbo of the Fundaci6n Mana proved
indispensable for the success of this project. The Andean
Tapir Fund is also grateful to the numerous national, state,
and local government officials, park superintendents /rangers,
and local mestizo and indigenous guides whose permission
and practical knowledge and help proved essential in the rea-
lisation of this project. We also express our appreciation to
the educators and spiritual guides of the schools and churches
who collaborated in an essential way. A significant "gracias"
also goes to media workers and town and canton leaders who
helped to organize the timely public inquiries and presentati-
ons of this project.


Bodmer, R. E. & Brooks, D. M. 1997. Status and action plan for
the lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) in South America. In: Tapirs:
Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. eds. D. M. Brooks,
R. E. Bodmer, & S. M. Matola, pp. 46-56. IUCN, Gland,
Cincotta, R. P; Wisnewski, J. & Engelman, R. 2000. Human popu-
lation in the biodiversity hotspots. Nature 404: 990-992.
Downer, C. C. 1996. The mountain tapir, endangered 'flagship'
species of the high Andes. Oryx 30(1): 45-58.
Downer, C. C. 1997. Status and action plan for the mountain tapir
(Tapirus pinchaque). In: Tapirs: Status Survey and Conservation
Action Plan. eds. D. M. Brooks, R. E. Bodmer, & S. M. Matola,
pp. 10-22. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
Downer, C. C. 2001. Observations on the diet and habitat of the
mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque). Journal of Zoology 254:

Craig C. Downer
President, Andean Tapir Fund
P O. Box 456, Minden, Nevada 89423, USA
Phone: +1-775-267-3484

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003

News from Captivity


Publication Announcement

for the Revised

AZA Husbandry Guidelines

for Tapirs

A after much work, the AZA Tapir TAG has completed its task
of compiling husbandry standards for keeping tapirs in
captivity. This assignment was given over three years ago by
the AZA Animal Welfare Committee and directed all the TAGs
to oversee the compilation of rigorous documents that could
be used by AZA inspectors visiting zoos during accreditation
inspections. These standards are much more in-depth than
the early husbandry guidelines that were written 5-6 years
ago, and are at the request of USDA and to be used by federal
inspectors, animal welfare agencies etc.

Alan Shoemaker is happy to supply electronic copies. Please
contact him on sshoe(

Status, Origin, and Diet

of Captive Tapirs

(Tapirus terrestris) in the

State of Santa Catarina,

Southern Brazil

By Alexey Bevilacqua Tormin Borges
& Marcos Adriano Tortato

In the State of Santa Catarina in the southern region of
Brazil, there are a relatively small number of zoos, few of
which exhibit tapirs. These facilities are poorly structured, with
little investment in infra-structure or research on the animals.
A brief survey indicated four establishments with a total of
15 lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) individuals. The survey
also collected information on the origin, gender, diet, exhibit,
reproduction and handling of the animals.


In all, four facilities with captive tapirs were identified (see
below). Three of these facilities were zoos, and the fourth was
a Visitor Centre in the Serra do Tabuleiro State Park. All of
these facilities were open to the public. They were:

Fundaqao Ecol6gica Zoobotanica de Brusque
(FEZB), Brusque.
Parque Cyro Gevaerd (PCG), Balneario Cambori6.
Zool6gico Pomerode (ZP), Pomerode.
Visitor Centre at the Serra do Tabuleiro State Park
(STSP), Palhoga.

Status, Origin, Enclosure, Diet and Handling

Most tapirs located in these facilities were bred from founder
specimens at the Visitor Centre at the Serra do Tabuleiro State
Park (STSP). None of these specimens are native to the State
of Santa Catarina.

Visitor Centre at Serra do Tabuleiro State Park:
* STATUS seven tapirs comprising 4 adults (2.2) and 3
young (0.2.1). Reproduction takes place without any genetic
management due to the extensive enclosure inhabited by
the animals. In two decades of captivity, only one pair has
* ORIGIN both founders are originally from the state of
Rond6nia, northern Brazil, and all others were born in cap-
tivity. These founders were brought here through the imp-
lementation of an Extinct Fauna Restoration Project of the
1980's located in a coastal region of the STSP (Baixada do
Massiambu). This project was eventually abandoned due to
lack of technical/scientific criteria.
* ENCLOSURE An enclosure of 150 ha composed of a
mosaic of Restinga vegetation, flooded areas, and temporary
lagoons, typical of Coastal Atlantic Forest ecosystems. The
animals are managed so that they are available for exhibiti-
on to the public and for the Park's Environmental Education
* DIET composed of natural vegetation found in the
exhibit and supplemented with pumpkin, manioc, cabbage,
lettuce, banana, papaya and equine feed.
* HANDLING over the course of two decades in captivity,
some offspring have been transferred to other facilities as
1.0 to the Fundacio Ecol6gica Zoobotanica
de Brusque (FEZB)
2.0 to the Parque Cyro Gervaerd (PCG),
Balneario Cambori6

This facility currently has a need for decisions about managing
the population and for training in handling the animals. The
enclosure has proven to be inadequate for containing tapirs,
and the potential for contact with resident populations of wild
tapir along the foothills of the Serra do Tabuleiro is high.

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

News from Captivity

Fundacao Ecol6gica Zoobotanica de Brusque:
* STATUS 4 tapirs, 3 adults (2.1) and 0.0.1 young.
Reproduction is managed.
* ORIGIN both founders are originally from the State of
Mato Grosso in the Central-Western region of Brazil, and
were brought into captivity in the 1990's. One male was
born in captivity from these two founders, and the other
juvenile was transferred from the Visitor Centre at the STSP
* ENCLOSURE 1,800 m2 (0.18 ha) containing a lake and
forested areas.
* DIET Composed of equine feed, cabbage, broccoli, let-
tuce, hay and tomatoes.
* HANDLING There are no records concerning births,
acquisitions or transfers of specimens to or from other zoos.

Parque Cyro Gevaerd:
* STATUS 2 adults.
* ORIGIN Visitor Centre at the STSP Santa Catarina,
southern Brazil;
* ENCLOSURE 1,500 m2 (0.15 ha), includes a lake.
Shaded areas are currently being provided.
* DIET Composed of equine feed, banana, apple, melon,
papaya, cabbage, sweet potato, manioc, tomato, green
beans, corn, hay, sugar cane (during winter) and mineral
* HANDLING There are no records concerning births or
transfers from the STSP

Zool6gico Pomerode:
* STATUS 1 male.
* ORIGIN Fontana Farm, State of Parana in southern
Brazil, arrived in the 1970's.
* ENCLOSURE 700 m2 (0.07 ha), includes a lake.
Shaded areas are currently being provided;
* DIET Composed of equine feed, pumpkin, apple,
banana, sweet potato, carrots, hay, and mineral salts.
* HANDLING There are no records concerning age or
date of acquisition.

Final Considerations

The captive conditions of tapirs in the State of Santa Catarina,
southern Brazil, are very precarious, given that the facilities
lack technical and scientific guidance in their maintenance
and welfare. At the Visitor Centre at Serra do Tabuleiro
State Park, the situation is both interesting and critical at
the same time, with animals coming into close contact with
natural environments and making regular use of the natural
resources available. The area of over 150 ha, while being the
largest encountered in this survey, is insufficient for maintain-
ing seven individuals and the impact caused by foraging and
trampling is visible. This condition is worsened by the fact
that the fencing does not adequately contain the animals,
potentially allowing disease transmission and inter-breeding
with tapir populations that are native to the Park. On the
other hand, the tapirs have a strong appeal as a flagship

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group .

species for the Environmental Education Programme of the
park. There is great potential for future work directed at the
conservation of the species in the STSP and improvements in
living conditions and research in captivity. Although critical,
the captive situation in Santa Catarina offers great potential
for the development of several research initiatives involving
genetic diversity, inbreeding, diet, epidemiological studies,
and the use of naturalistic habitats.

Alexey Bevilacqua Tormin Borges
Parque Estadual da Serra do Tabuleiro
Santa Catarina, Brazil
Phone: +55-48-232-0570 / +55-48-232-8455

Marcos Adriano Tortato
Parque Estadual da Serra do Tabuleiro
Santa Catarina, Brazil
E-mail: marcostortato(

Recent Births of

Mountain Tapirs

Swo births of mountain tapirs (Tapirus pinchaque) have
been reported from zoos in the United States this year.

Five days old mountain tapir at the Los Angeles Zoo. Photo by Roxane Losey.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado,
and the Los Angeles Zoo, California, each achieved a recent
success in breeding this highly endangered species. The off-
spring, both males, were born on May 29th and October 10th,
2003. Altogether, eight individuals are currently represented
in three North American facilities.

Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003

Contributed Papers


The Age Structure of Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) in the Chaco

By Leonardo Maffei


The lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is one of the most
important sources of meat in the Bolivian Chaco. For
example, it provides 14.3% of the wild meat harvested by
indigenous hunters in the area (Noss 1998). Interviews with
local people indicate that hunters must travel increasing dis-
tances from communities in order to hunt this species. This
suggests that the species is over hunted and that management
measures may be required to ensure that its hunting be sustai-
nable. To confirm interview evidence we collected additional
biological information to evaluate the status of the tapir popu-
lation, namely the proportion of juveniles and adults. There
are different ways to estimate the age of an animal, including
changes in the coat colour or size of the animal to diffe-
rentiate between young, juveniles or sub adults and adults.
More accurate age estimates can be achieved applying more
sophisticated techniques such as the analysis of dental wear
(Dimmyck & Pelton 1996). This article describes the process
for estimating the age of tapirs from dental wear, assigning
age classes based on dental annuli analysis conducted in a

Study area

The sampling area is covered by Chaco alluvial plain forest,
with an annual precipitation of 500 mm and an average tem-
perature of 26 oC (Navarro & Fuentes 1999). The Chaco
forest is a dry tropical forest with a canopy of 4 to 6 m,
numerous species of Cactaceae, and a dry season that lasts
for 6 to 8 months. Twenty-four indigenous communities are
distributed along the Parapeti river, including roughly 10,000
Isosefio inhabitants who depend, in part, on hunting for their
subsistence needs.


As a part of a hunting monitoring program between 1997 and
1999, hunters of the Isoso area (Gran Chaco) collected the
skulls of 40 tapirs hunted for subsistence purposes. It is assu-
med that young and old animals have the same probability
of being hunted. As hunters hunt with dogs, the dogs do not
discriminate between young and adults. For example, cap-
turing tapirs using dogs as the Isosefio do in Cerro Cortado
Investigation Camp (a area near Isoso where there is no

SDecember 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2

hunting pressure) one juvenile and four adults were captured.
This indicates that all animals have the same probability of
being captured (Noss et al. 2003).
In order to determine the age of each animal, incisors
were taken from the skulls and the roots were decalcified with
30% formic acid, then analysed in a laboratory by counting
the dental annuli in the cementum of the root (the procedure
is described in Maffei & Becerra (2001). Given the seasonality
of precipitation and resource availability in the Chaco, with a
single long dry season, it is assumed that each ring represents
a year. In addition, based on dental wear, and relating this
feature with the age obtained by counting the annuli, a key
was developed to identify age classes (Appendix 1). Between
1999 and 2001, 27 new skulls were added to this study. The
first 40 were aged according to the results of the annuli count,
and the 27 new ones were aged using the key of dental wear
detailed in Appendix 1.

Results and Discussion

Annuli could be seen in all samples, most of them showing
clearly the age annuli, but several were so diffuse that they did
not reflect the real age of the tapirs. In some cases the root of
the tooth was so thick that it took between one week and 10
days to decalcify, and the annuli may have been lost in this
long process. Analysis of the 67 samples shows that juveniles
(ages between 0 and 1 year old) represent 63% of the hunted
population (Fig. 1), and accordingly are being over-hunted.
Tapirs reach reproductive maturity at two years of age
(Parera 2002). Padilla and Dowler (1994) reported first
conception between 23 and 27 months, and gestation lasts
for one year. Based on these figures, less than 72% of the
live-born individuals die before reproducing in the Isoso tapir
population. This means that only 28% of individuals can be
considered as reproductively active. At two years old, the
curve of age structures falls and stays stable. A further indica-
tion that the population is being over hunted is that the oldest
reported individual from the Isoso was 12 years, against 30
years reported from captivity (Parera 2002).
The population structure of an over hunted population is
similar to that observed with brocket deer (Mazama gouazou-
bira), (Maffei 2001), which is also a solitary species, where the
only groups found are a female with her offspring. Tapirs are
suffering intense hunting pressure in Isoso. Noss (2000), using
different data applied to a sustainability model also reported
that in the hunting area, the population of tapirs and white-

S. Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Contributed Papers


- 10

>1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Age in years

Fig. I. Age structure of tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) from 1997 to 2000 in Isoso (n= 67).

lipped peccaries (Tayassu peccary) are over hunted. The
fact that less than 30% of tapirs reproduce at least once is a
warning that the situation for tapirs in Isoso is critical. If this
species is to survive in the Isoso indigenous territory, hunting
should be controlled, for example by instituting no-hunting
zones, a temporary ban on tapir hunting, and/or a ban on
hunting young tapirs.


Isoseflo people kindly provided specimens for analysis. Maria
Nelly Becerra provided direction on the laboratory work.
Rosa Leny Cu6llar and Clara Rojas helped in the elaborati-
on of the dental wear key. Andrew Noss kindly revised this

Leonardo Maffei
Casilla 6272, SantaCruz, Bolivia


Dimmick, R. W. & Pelton, M. R. 1996. Criteria of sex and age In:
Bookhout, TA. (ed.). Research and Management Techniques for
Wildlife and Habitats, pp. 169-214. Wildlife Society. Bethesda,
Md. USA.
Maffei, L. & Becerra, M. N. 2000. T6cnica basica para determinar
la edad en ungulados silvestres en base al analisis de dientes.
Ecologia en Bolivia 34: 39-44.
Maffei, L. 2001. Estructura de edades de la urina (Mazama
gouazoubira) en el chaco Boliviano. Mastozoologia Neotropical.
8: 149-158.
Navarro, G. & Fuentes, A. 1999. Geobotanica y sistemas ecol6gicos
de paisaje en el Gran Chaco de Bolivia. Rev. Bol. Ecol. Cons.
Amb. 5: 25-50.
Noss, A. J. 1998. El monitoreo comunitario de caceria en el Izozog:

4 years: The crowns of all the teeth are slightly worn except for the last molar.

6 years: The first molar is very worn and concave, the first and second premolars are
almost worn smooth. The last molar may or may not show wear.

8 years: The first and second molars are concave. The crown of the last molar shows wear.

12 years or more: Almost all the teeth are concave. The last molar shows variable wear.

J -C 1

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003

datos preliminares. Ecologia en Bolivia. 31: 53-66.
Noss, A. J. 2000. La sostenibilidad de la caceria de subsistencia
izoceia. In: Cabrera, E., Mercolli, R. & Resquin, R. (eds.)
Manejo de fauna silvestre en amazonia y Latinoamerica,
pp. 535-544. CITES Fund. Mois6s Bertoni, Univ. of Florida,
Asunci6n, Paraguay.
Noss, A. J., Cu6llar, R. L., Barrientos, J., Maffei, L., Cu6llar, E.,
Arispe, R., Rumiz, D. & Rivero, K. 2003. A camera trapping
and radio telemetry study of lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) in
Bolivian dry forests. Tapir Cons. 12: 24-32.
Padilla, M. & Dowler, R. C. 1994. Tapirus terrestris. Mammalian
Species 481: 1-8.
Parera, A. 2002. Los Mamiferos de la Argentina y la Regi6n Austral
de Sudamerica. Ed. El Ateneo. Buenos Aires, Argentina. 453 pp.

Appendix I

Key to determining tapir age (Tapirus terrestris) according to
dental wear. Note: This key applies to the right inferior man-
dible, for dry forest tapirs. A skull where the last molar has not
yet erupted is from an individual less than two years old.

2 years: All teeth have completely erupted, the first molar has the points slightly worn.

Contributed Papers

The Lowland Tapir in the Caraca Reserve,

Minas Gerais State, Brazil: Preliminary Results

By Edsel A. Moraes Junior, Joaquim A. Silva & Rafael L.A. Freitas


Due to hunting and habitat destruction, the lowland tapir, Tapirus terrestris, is now endangered over much of
its range. This paper presents the preliminary results of a study of the distribution and relative abundance
of tapirs, using track surveys and camera traps, in the Private Natural Heritage Reserve, Serra do Caraca. By
monitoring footprints it was observed that T. terrestris apparently occupies all habitat types in the study area.
Five photographic records of tapirs were obtained from camera traps, thus representing a capture success of
6.5% and Relative Abundance Index (RAI) = 2.71. No photographic records were obtained during the day and
most were during the period from 20:00 to 24:00 hours. Some photographic records were damaged by the
dense mist, an effect usually observed in the coldest, driest months of the year. Despite the short monitoring
period, the results presented here reinforce the importance of the reserve as a refuge for wild tapir stocks.


The tapir, Tapirus terrestris, is the largest terrestrial mammal
in Brazil, with a length of around 2 meters and weight of
250 kg (Emmons & Feer 1997). Due to its herbivorous diet,
the tapir plays an important role in the maintenance of vege-
tation, being an important seed disperser in its habitat (Olmos
1997). The tapir is threatened in a large part of its range, with
several cases of local extinction caused by hunting and habitat
destruction. Habitat destruction is principally responsible for
the decline of the populations in the state of Minas Gerais
(Costa 1998).
The efficiency of track surveys (Naranjo 1995; Affonso
1998) and camera traps (Holden 2003; Noss et al. 2003) in
estimating tapir populations has been demonstrated previous-
ly. These data, therefore, represent the preliminary results of
a study of the distribution pattern of Tapirus terrestris in the
Private Natural Heritage Reserve, Serra do Caraga.

Study Area

The Private Natural Heritage Reserve, Serra do Caraga
(10,187.89 ha), is located in the southern portion of the
Espinhaqo mountain range (20005' S; 43029' W), Minas
Gerais State, Brazil. This orographic system is represented by
a mountainous complex that delineates a zone of contact bet-
ween the "Cerrado" (savannas) and the Atlantic Forest, in its
southern portion, and transition zones of "Cerrado", Atlantic
Forest, and "Caatinga" (tropical deciduous forest), at its cen-
tral and northern edges (Giulietti & Pirani 1988; Harley 1955;
Giulietti et al. 1997). The reserve comprises three main types
of vegetation represented by seasonal semi-deciduous forests,
"campos de altitude" (high altitude grasslands), and "campos
rupestres" (rocky grasslands), which occur at elevations of

between 850 and 2,072 m. The regional climate is rainy in
summer (October-March) and dry in winter (April-September)
with mild temperatures throughout the year (180 to 190 C).
The maximum temperature rarely surpasses 300 C and the
minimum temperature can reach negative values. "Campos
rupestres" consist of grasslands surrounded by rocky outcrops,
as well as shrubs and small trees (Fig. 1). Vegetation patches
in different stages of ecological succession are present in the
region as a consequence of timber extraction and the "slash-
and-burn" practice used in the past. The reserve represents a
rich artistic, cultural and historical heritage resulting from over
two centuries of human occupation (Andrade 2000).


To investigate the distribution of T terrestris in the reserve,
footpaths, roads and watercourses were surveyed from April
to August 2003 recording footprints indicating tapir presence
in the area. Geographic coordinates of tracks were recorded
using UTMs (Universal Transverse Mercator), with GPS
Garmin II, in the locations where footprints were encoun-
tered. Each location in the study area was sampled just once
per month, to ensure independence of samples (Swihart &
Slade 1985). After collection, all of the footprints were erased
to avoid multiple recordings.
The coordinate was then plotted on a map of the study
area, scale 1:10,000, with the different vegetation types,
topography and hydrology. The data was analysed using the
programme Arcview 3.2 (Environmental Systems Research
Institute, ESRI, Redlands, California, USA).
Camera trap monitoring was carried out between April
and September 2003 with a sampling effort of 184 trap days,
using only two camera traps in the two last sampling efforts.
The camera-traps were located in a trail near the forest

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Contributed Papers

Figure I. Map of the distribution of Tapirus terrestris tracks in the Private Natural
Heritage Reserve Serra do Caraca, Minas Gerais State, Brazil.




0 --- I --- I --- 1- -1 -
0000- 0400- 0800- 1200- 1600- 2000-
0400 0800 1200 1600 2000 2400
Time period (h)

Figure 2. Preliminary results of activity patterns for T. terrestris according to
camera-traps in Reserve Serra do Caraca.

edge. To calculate the success rate of capture and Relative
Abundance Index (RAI) we considered an effective recording
to be a photo of an animal in a camera trap during a 24-
hour period. Sequential photographs of the same individual
were excluded. RAI was calculated as the total number of
tapir photos X 100/total number of cameras/nights (TEAM
Protocol; Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, 2002).

Results and Discussion

Track surveys have revealed that T terrestris apparently
occupies all of the habitat types in the study area (Fig. 1).
The different types of vegetation and, principally, the abrupt
variations in relief do not appear to restrict the movement and
habitat use of tapirs in the Serra do Caraga Reserve. The use
of track surveys to assess the distribution pattern of species
can be hindered by various factors such as terrain type, rain
intensity and the movements of humans.
Five effective photographic recordings of tapirs were
obtained from the camera traps, with a capture success rate
of 6.5% and RAI = 2.71. No recording was obtained during
the day (06:00-18:00 h) and most were during the period 20:
00-24:00 h (Fig. 2). The tapirs appear to have exclusively
nocturnal habits perhaps due to the large number of tourists
who visit the area.
Two individuals were recorded (an adult female and a
sub-adult) in the same capture station, on different days (Fig.
3a,b). Some photographic records were damaged by dense
mist in the locations of capture stations (Fig. 4), an effect
usually observed in the coldest, driest months (June July).
Despite the short sampling period, the results presented here
reinforce the importance of the reserve as an essential ref-
uge for fauna, particularly as all of the surrounding area is
occupied and degraded (principally by mining activities, com-
mon in all areas south of the mountain range of Espinhaqo).
Therefore, studies of long duration, with a larger number of
camera traps or using radio-telemetry, should be conducted
to generate information on the population status of tapirs
in the Serra do Caraga Reserve. This will supply sufficient
information to guide management decisions and aid the
conservation of species in the mountainous regions of Minas
Gerais State.


We would like to thank Wally Van Sickle (Idea Wild, USA)
who donated some of the equipment used, Pe C6lio
Del'Amore, Consuelo Paganini, the Caraga Reserve Keepers
and Patricia Medici.

Edsel Amorim Moraes Junior
Joaquim de Arafjo Silva
Rafael Luiz A. Freitas
Biotr6picos Wildlife Research Institute
AC/Savassi, Caixa Postal 2469, Belo Horizonte
Minas Gerais, CEP: 30112-970, Brazil
E-mail: inst biotropicos(v)

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003


Contributed Papers

Figures 3. (a) Picture of an adult female individual of lowland tapir;

(b) a sub-adult individual captured on film by the same camera-trap.

Figure 4. Picture of a lowland tapir, in dense mist, taken by a camera-
trapping system.


Affonso, R. O. 1998. Tapirus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia,
Perissodactyla) em uma Area de Floresta Subtropical no Sul do
Brasil: Dieta, Uso da Area e Densidade Populacional. DissertaSao
de Mestrado. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de
Janeiro, RJ. 104 pp.
Andrade, M. G. 2000. A Educagdo Exilada, Colegio do Caraga.
Editora Autentica, Belo Horizonte.
Center for Applied Biodiversity Science 2002. Tropical Ecology,
Assessment, and Monitoring (TEAM) Initiative. Camera Trapping
Protocol. Conservation International, Washington, USA.
Costa, C. M. R. 1998. Tapirus terrestris. In: Machado, A. B. M.,
Fonseca, G. A. B., Machado, R. B., Aguiar, L. M. S. & Lins, L. V
(eds). Livro Vermelho das Especies Ameagadas de Extingao da
Fauna de Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte, FundaSao Biodiversitas.
Pp. 141-143.
Emmons, L. H. & Feer, F 1997. Neotropical Rainforest Mammals
A Field Guide. 2nd Edition.. The University of Chicago Press,
Giulietti, A. M. & Pirani, J. R. 1988. Patterns of geographic distri-
bution of some plant species from the Espinhaco Range, Minas
Gerais and Bahia, Brazil. In: P E. Vanzolini and W. R. Heyer
(Eds.) Proceedings of a Workshop on Neotropical Distribution
Patterns. Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, Rio de Janeiro,
Giulietti, A. M., Pirani, J. R. & Harley, R. M. 1997. Espinhaco
Range region, Eastern Brazil. In: S. D. Davis, V H. Heywood,
O. Herrera-MacBryde, J. Villa-Lobos and A. C. Hamilton
(Eds.) Centres of Plant Diversity, a Guide and Strategy for their
Conservation, Vol. 3. Information Press, Oxford, UK.
Harley, R. M. 1995. Introduction. In: B. L. Stannard, Y. B. Harvey
& R. M. Harley (Eds.) Flora of the Pico das Almas, Chapada
Diamantina Bahia, Brazil. Royal Botanic Gardens. Kew.
Holden, J., Yanuar, A. & Martyr, D. J. 2003. The Asian tapir in
Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra: Evidence collected
through photo-trapping. Oryx 37: 34-40.
Naranjo, E. J. 1995. Abundancia y uso de habitat del tapir (Tapirus
bairdii) en un bosque tropical humedo de Costa Rica. Vida Silv.
Neotrop. 4: 20-31.
Noss, A. J., Cuellar, R. L., Barrientos, J., Maffei, L., Cuellar, E.,
Arispe, R., Rumiz, D. & Rivero, K. A. 2003. Camera trapping
and radio telemetry study of lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) in
Bolivian dry forests. Tapir Conserv. 12: 24-32.
Olmos, E 1997. Tapirs como dispersores y depredadores de semillas,
p. 3-9. In: Brooks, D.M., Bodmer, R.E. & Matola, S. (eds.) Tapirs:
Status and Conservation Action Plan. Cambrige, IUCN/SSC
Tapir Specialist Group.
Swihart, R. K. & Slade, N. A. 1985. Influence of sampling interval
on estimates of home-range size. Journal Wildlife Management
49(4): 1019-1025.

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Contributed Papers

Feeding as a Method of Environmental Enrichment for

Malay Tapirs (Tapirus indicus) at Nuremberg Zoo, Germany

By Susanne Zenzinger


The aim of this study was to examine the effects of environmental enrichment on the feeding and resting
behaviour of Malay tapirs at the Nuremberg Zoo. In addition, the enrichment objects used were examined
in order to ascertain their suitability as occupational food. For this purpose, three successive experiments
were carried out with the Malay tapir group (1.2) at Nuremberg Zoo within an observation period lasting from
July 1st to October 2nd 2002. These experiments used suspended food branches and stuffed jute sacks as well
as providing spiked hay-bales. The observed individuals were an adult male, an adult female and her female
calf. The results pointed to a preference for the suspended food branches followed by the hay-bales and finally
the jute sacks.


The environmental surroundings of zoo animals differ
fundamentally from those of their free ranging relatives.
Zoo animals are usually fed at fixed times and so efforts to
find and consume food do not take up as much time as in
the wild. Therefore, a gap is left in the life of an animal kept
in captivity that must be filled (Johann 1992). If this is not
achieved, the animals may react with prolonged periods
of rest (Dittrich 1986), stereotypic behaviour or increased
aggression (Johann 1992).
The term "environmental enrichment" attempts to fill the
gap left by the lack of foraging opportunities (Meister 1998).
For that purpose, natural as well as artificial objects are used.
Natural objects are usually objects or methods of providing
food and are favoured by most animals. In most cases, vari-
ation can be created in different ways and times of presenting
food. To avoid the development of a habit, it is crucial for
every kind of enrichment to create continuing variety. The
more easily that the offered objects can be manipulated,
the longer it will take for them to lose their enriching effect
(Berufsverband der Zootierpfleger 1997).
Until recently, tapirs have not received much attention
regarding the development of specific enrichment program-
mes. Presently, there are far less studies of this topic on the
Malay tapir (Taylor 2000) than on its American relative, the
lowland tapir (Sharpe 1997; Penning 1998; Miller 2001).
Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the conse-
quences of environmental enrichment on the feeding and
resting behaviour of Malay tapirs. In addition, the enrichment
objects used were examined and their suitability as "feeding
enrichment" evaluated.


During the observation period between July 1st and October
2nd 2002, three successive experiments were carried out with
the Malay tapir group at Nuremberg Zoo:

1. Hanging up leafy food branches on a coconut rope
(suspended branches).
2. Hanging up slit jute sacks stuffed with fruit,
cut grass, hay and small branches on a coconut rope
(jute sacks).
3. Bringing in hay-bales spiked with fruit, peanuts
and small branches tied together with a coconut
rope (hay-bales).

The observations took place exclusively in the outdoor
enclosure. The observed individuals were an adult male and
female and their female calf (Table 1). For protection of the
offspring, the male was kept apart from the two females.

Table I. Composition of the Tapir Group Investigated at
Nuremberg Zoo.

CALF [N0r14]




For each experiment, the observation period lasted seven
days. Every day, the respective enrichment objects were
renewed before observations began. The analysis was based

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003


Contributed Papers

on two hours of observation in the morning (9 to 11
a.m.) and two hours in the afternoon (2 to 4 p.m.). 141
These represented the periods of highest activity for
the animals in the outdoor enclosure. This period 12(
had been determined before the start of the study. Y 101
The duration of time spent eating the different 8
enrichment objects was recorded as accurately as 81
possible (+ 5 seconds). The term "eating" has to be 4 6
taken as occupation with food in general. This does
not only include ingestion, but also the acquisition of
food that is not easily accessible. 2
All-occurrence-sampling (Altmann 1974) was
used as the recording method. The statistical ana-
lysis was carried out according to the Friedman test
and using the statistics programme "SsS 1.0 fur
Windows" by Rubisoft Software GmbH. The results Figur
were rated significant if error probability was p <
0.05. However, p-values between 0.05 and 0.1 can
also be of interest and can be accounted for as "not
entirely" or "almost" significant (Lamprecht 1999).


Adult Male Tapir HENK: As shown in figure 1, the adult
male spent almost twice as much time eating the suspended
branches as the hay-bales. Clearly, he spent least time eating
out of the jute sacks (p = 0.0027, Friedman test). Significant
differences (*) can be seen between the times spent with the
jute sacks and the suspended branches (Q = 2.940, Dunn's
test) and between the jute sacks and the hay-bales (Q =
2.0673, Dunn's test). As can be seen from Figure 2, the adult
male tried to eat all parts of the suspended branches that he


O food branches
Ejute sacks
O hay-bales


e I. Comparison of the duration of feeding on the different enrichment objects for all observed
individuals (overall duration of observation: 28 h for each experiment).

could reach. Whenever all leaves and side branches were
plucked off and the bark of the main branch was removed,
the adult male repeatedly used the stones in front of the test
construction as "stairs" to reach the higher branches. In cont-
rast, the adult male paid little attention to the jute sacks. Most
of the time, he kept a distance of at least one metre from the
sack and only occasionally sniffed in its direction (Figure 3).
However, if he pulled out pieces of the stuffing, he instantly
galloped away with them to eat them in another part of his
enclosure. This was only observed on two test days out of
seven. The hay-bales aroused the adult male's interest to a
greater extent. On the first test day, he took the complete hay-
bale to pieces in order to obtain its contents, and consumed
a large part of the hay.

Figure 2. The adult male uses stones
as "stairs" to reach a suspended branch.

Figure 3. The adult male sniffs in the
direction of a jute sack.

Figure 4. The adult female with her
nose in the sack. The calf eats fallen hay.

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Contributed Papers

Figure 5. The calf uses a hay-bale for rubbing its head.

Adult Female Tapir INDAH: Of the three types of feed-
ing enrichment, the adult female spent the least time with the
hay-bales. She spent the most amount of time with the jute
sacks (Figure 1). There was a "not entirely significant" differ-
ence regarding the duration of time spent eating these objects
(p = 0.0854, Friedman test). Accordingly, the adult female
often just plucked off the leaves and the side branches of the
suspended branches. The main branch remained almost
entirely untouched. In contrast, the jute sacks were shaken
and hollowed out with the help of her snout (Figure 4) or were
nibbled at the corners. As a result, the contents were partially
spread over the ground, where the calf or the adult female
herself immediately ate them. The adult female repeatedly
tried to push down the sack by using one of her front legs and
placing it inside one of the slits. The hay-bales were moved a
short distance within the enclosure by using the coconut rope
to carry them. The adult female only ate the stuffing, but not
the hay itself. In addition, she used the bales for scratching
her belly.

Female Calf: The calf spent most of the time eating the
suspended branches. It spent the least amount of time with
the jute sacks (Figure 1). Thus, an "almost significant" diffe-
rence could be determined according to the Friedman test
(p = 0.0515). The calf preferred to remove the bark from
the suspended branches. With regard to the jute sacks, the
calf's behaviour on the first test day mirrored that of the adult
male described above. But by the second day of testing, such
behaviour was no longer observed. The calf ate the fruit as
well as the hay. A short period of nibbling for longer peri-
ods at the corners of the jute sack, which contained the fruit
pieces, was observed. The calf exhibited a very wide range of
different activities with the hay bales. While trying to hollow
the bales with its nose, the calf sometimes climbed on top
of the bale. In this position, the calf either spread apart the
single hay-ribs or used the hay-bale to sway back and forth.
In this experiment, the calf also ate fruit as well as hay. The

calf also used the hay-bales for scratching. Due to the calf's
height, either only the head (Figure 5) or the complete body
could be rubbed.


The adult male clearly preferred the suspended branches and
the hay-bales to the jute sacks and also showed a preference
for the suspended branches rather than the hay-bales (Fig. 1).
Of all the animals, the adult female paid the most attention to
the jute sacks. She spent far less time with the hay-bales than
with the suspended branches. The calf, like the adult male,
preferred the suspended branches, followed by the hay-bales
and finally the jute sacks. As the results show, no clear prefe-
rence for any of the enrichment objects could be observed in
the case of any individual.
It was also observed that the adult male kept his distance
from the jute sacks for most of the time. This behaviour
can possibly be attributed to the strong smell of jute. The
observations also showed that the adult male was startled
whenever he pulled something out of the sack. The reason
for that could possibly be the design of the test construction,
which caused the jute sacks to swing every time one of the
animals touched them. This might be enriching in itself
(Berufsverband der Zootierpfleger 1997). However, the adult
male seemed to prefer eating the suspended branches, which
were mobile. But with the suspended branches and the hay-
bales being familiar objects to the tapirs in contrast to the jute
sacks, which had not been used with the Nuremberg tapir
group before, the adult male's distrust of the sacks could
possibly be explained accordingly. For that reason, Hutchins
et al. (1984) come out in favour of using as much natural
material as possible for environmental enrichment. On the
first test day, the calf showed a behaviour quite similar to the
adult male's towards the jute sacks. However, it lost its fear of
them after the adult female had spent some time with them.
The popularity of the objects used decreased, beginning with
the suspended branches, then the hay-bales and finally the
jute sacks, with the exception of the adult female. As men-
tioned above, this could result from the degree of familiarity
or from the naturalness of the respective occupational object.
The sequence determined could also be related to the natural
foraging preferences of the Malay tapir. It is not surprising
that the suspended branches came off best, because tapirs
are, to a great extent, browsers. Furthermore, fruit makes up
a large part of a tapir's diet and is usually picked up from the
forest floor (Williams & Petrides 1980). The hay-bales stuffed
with pieces of fruit enabled the animals to practice exactly
that kind of foraging behaviour. Unknown objects seemed to
attract the adult female the most. The fact that she spent the
shortest time with the hay-bales might be attributed to the fact
that she was the only one who did not eat the hay but went
straight for the contents.

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003

Contributed Papers / Asking the Experts


Taking individual differences into consideration, many
enrichment objects may be suitable for tapirs. As animal
behaviour depends on various external and internal factors
(Berufsverband der Zootierpfleger 1997), reactions to just one
enrichment object can be very different. Therefore, a study
on a larger scale especially with more test animals may
give more detailed information on this subject.


I would especially like to thank Dr. U. GansloBer for his inva-
luable advice throughout this project and Dr. H. Maigdefrau,
Vice-Director of Nuremberg Zoo, for his permission to carry
out the observations at Nuremberg. Furthermore, I would like
to thank all the zookeepers working in the tropical house for
their cooperation.

Susanne Zenzinger
Rainwiesenweg 6b, 90571 Schwaig
FAU-Erlangen-Nirnberg, Germany


Altmann, J. 1974. Observational study of behaviour: Sampling
methods. Behaviour 49: 227-267.
Berufsverband der Zootierpfleger, E. V. 1997. Theorie und Praxis

in Bezug auf Lebensraum- und Verhaltensbereicherung bei
Zootieren. Schiling, Miinster.
Dittrich, L. 1986. Tiergartenbiologische Kriterien gelungener
Adaptation von Wildtieren an konkrete Haltungsbedingung-
en. In: Militzer, K. (Hrsg.): Wege zur Beurteilung tiergerech-
ter Haltung bei Labor-, Zoo- und Haustieren. Schriftenreihe
Versuchstierkunde, Heft 12, pp. 21-32. Paul Parey, Berlin,
Hutchins, M., Hancocks, D. & Crockett, C. 1984. Naturalistic solu-
tions to the behavioral problems of captive animals. D. Zool.
Garten (N.F) 54: 28-42.
Johann, A. 1992. Aktivitatsf6rderung und Beschaftigung von
Wildtieren in Menschenhand. Bongo-Beitrage zur Tiergartnerei
und Jahresberichte aus dem Zoo Berlin 20:11-24.
Lamprecht, J. 1999. Biologische Forschung: Von der Planung bis zur
Publikation. Filander, Firth.
Meister, J. 1998. Environmental Enrichment. In: Ganslosser, U.
(Hrsg.): Kurs Tiergartenbiologie, pp. 85-98. Filander, Fiirth.
Miller, A. 2001. Die Auswirkungen von Environmental Enrichment
bei Flachlandtapiren im Zoo Osnabriick. Hausarbeit im Rahmen
der ersten Staatspriifung fir das Lehramt an Realschulen.
Penning, M. 1998. Auswirkungen von Behavioural Enrichment
bei Flachlandtapiren (Tapirus terrestris) im Zoo Osnabriick.
Hausarbeit im Rahmen der ersten Staatsprufung fir das Lehramt
an Realschulen.
Sharpe, S. 1997. Environmental Enrichment for singly-housed
South American tapirs. Int. Zoo News 44: 85-95.
Taylor, E. 2000. The captive behaviour of Malayan tapirs in an
enriched and non-enriching enclosure. Unpub. Undergraduate
Thesis, Sparsholt College, Winchester, Hampshire, UK.
Williams, K. D. & Petrides, G. A. 1980. Browse use, feeding beha-
viour, and management of the Malaysian tapir. J. Wildl. Mgmt.
44 (2): 489-494.



How Old is an Old Tapir?

By Leonardo Salas

The survival rate of adult and reproductively active tapirs
is probably the most important demographic parameter
determining the resilience of a tapir population facing hunting
pressure. For an example at hand, see what Leo Maffei has
to say in his article in this TSG Newsletter issue. Ageing the
animals becomes an inevitable necessity when estimating sur-
vival rates, both in unharmed and hunted populations.
We are faced with the same hurdle when addressing ques-
tions on heterochrony, and inter- and intraspecific allomet-

ries. Or when determining age of first and last reproduction,
longevity, age of dispersers (a critical factor due to increased
fragmentation of habitats) and mate choice, just to name a
few examples. Yet, it seems like ageing tapirs or any other
long-lived tropical mammals is a daunting, if not impossible,
Tapirs have several identifiable growth stages. The
most basic stages would be: newborn, juvenile (i.e., animals
already with adult pelage but still growing), and adult (i.e.,

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Asking the Experts

animals from about 4 to 25+ years old). Several criteria can
be applied to age newborn and juvenile tapirs using data
from zoos, but ageing adults remains unattainable. At least
one author (Dr. Richard Bodmer) used tooth wear and other
clues to divide hunted tapirs into broad age categories; but
we are still left with no means to assess the accuracy of his
classification method unless the animals' ages are determined
through unrelated means.
Ageing mammals has been done using several techni-
ques. All of these require building a calibration curve with
samples of animals of known age, from which the appropriate
measurements are taken. Perhaps the most common method
for temperate areas is counting cement annuli in cross-sec-
tions of teeth. These rings are formed due to changes in
cement deposits in teeth probably caused by changes in diet
and/or strongly seasonal climate changes. A calibration curve
is constructed showing the relationship between numbers of
cement rings in a particular tooth versus age. When an ani-
mal of unknown age is found, the same tooth used to build
the calibration curve is extracted and cut. The counts of rings
can be then used to age the animal. Notably, the method
offers estimates of error due to sampling, environmental vari-
ability and other factors.
Maffei (in this issue) does a brave attempt at ageing a
sample of tapirs from the Bolivian Chaco without the use of
a calibration curve, perhaps because none was available for
him to use or he could not find a set of known-age skulls to
build one. For ageing his sample, he by force, assumes that
each cementum ring means one year of age, and that the
rings are the product of a marked dry season. But note that
he cannot assign confidence intervals to his ageing, despite
the fact that he acknowledges possible sources of sampling
error (difficulty in visualizing rings, or problems with sample
preparations). Another source not mentioned include the
heating and cooling of the teeth if the skull was cooked, which
also dilutes or destroys rings. Without a calibration curve we
cannot verify the accuracy of Maffei's age estimates, and so
we do not know if he sorted each skull in the sample into the
correct age category (he used six). In his defence, he supports
his ageing and sorting with evidence of tooth wear. Also, Mr.
Maffei has managed to gather some information on the age
of his skulls, at least relative to each other.
It is probably safe to say that tapirs generally live in rela-
tively seasonal habitats, meaning that there may be no dras-
tic changes in diet and certainly no harsh winters. This could
represent a problem if we attempt to use Mr. Maffei's method.
Consider also that the known-age samples will come from
zoos, where there is little seasonal variability in diet. Another
problem with the cementum annuli method is that it requires
damaging the samples, which many museum curators will
certainly not consent to.

Dr. Matt Colbert, of the University of Texas at Austin, has
conducted research on ageing in tapirs. "Establishing metrics
by which to evaluate an individual's relative maturity would
be an enormous boon to many different types of studies," he

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

commented through e-mail. One of his research interests is
that of differences in skull and skeletal ontogenetic changes
among the three New World tapir species (i.e., changes as
a tapir ages, from foetus to adult). He was interested in "a
method for establishing sequences of tooth eruption and
cranial suture closure occurring during ontogeny for the four
tapir species." He was interested in change patterns unique
to each species, but, he explains, "I soon realized that I nee-
ded a way to age the samples in order to distinguish static
allometry [variation between individuals of the same age
cohort] from ontogenetic allometry."
Dr. Colbert encountered the same problem many field
biologists have faced when trying to understand populati-
on dynamics and other aspects of tapir population biology
and ecology. In his particular case, as he put it succinctly,
"...age, or maturity stage, has to be established with enough
precision" to distinguish if the patterns observed were due to
static or ontogenetic allometry.

Skulls are important records of tapirs, but their precise ageing is difficult.
In this example (T. terrestris), the missing eruption of the last inferior molar indicates
- after Maffei's description an age below two years. Photo by Stefan Seitz.

Using techniques typically used in phylogenetic analyses,
Dr. Colbert has been able to find predominant sequences of
character changes (e.g., eruption of teeth, closing of cranial
sutures) for each species of tapir, and levels of variability
associated with these sequences. He can also tell which
characters produce the least variable sequences. "...The
method was used to figure out sequences of character chan-
ges based on cross-sectional data (that is, a bunch of skulls
sitting in museum drawers that have no information about
absolute age)." By cross-sectional data, Dr. Colbert refers to
the method of sampling a population by taking individuals of
all age cohorts only once, hence resembling a cross-sectional
cut; this method is in contrast with longitudinal sampling,
which means following a cohort from day one until all the
individuals die.
Although intuitively simple, Dr. Colbert's approach is not

Vol. 12 /No. 2 December 2003

Asking the Experts

exempt from difficulties. He adds: "One of the difficulties in
deriving such sequences is that the sequences are inconsistent
(for example, in a majority of individuals 'event A' may occur
before 'event B', but in a few 'event B' is the first to occur)."
To better understand Matt's work, imagine you are a
newborn tapir. As you grow, your "milk" teeth erupt, and
then a second set of teeth (except for molars) replace these.
Meanwhile, sutures between pairs of bones in your skull
close. In theory, this process goes on until some time in your
adult life. These are the character changes that make up Dr.
Colbert's data, and which he has represented in the figure
included here. In the figure, each point represents a skull of a
lowland tapir. There are many ways in which all the character
changes he recorded (115 in total) could be sorted (indeed,
as many as a permutation of the total number of character
changes he recorded, or 2.9 x 10188 combinations in the
example of the graph!). If the changes happened in perfect
sequence, then there would be only one way in which they
could be sorted if it is set a priori that a newborn individual
has no teeth erupted and no sutures closed, and that a fully
adult one shows the diametrically opposite condition.
But life is never so sweet! Dr. Colbert used powerful
statistical techniques to develop a sequence order that most
closely resembles a perfect sequence. In the case of lowland
tapirs in the graph, the species for which he had the most
data, there is clearly quite a bit of variability in sequences of
character appearance. The black line in the graph represents
an "average" solution.

Tooth eruplkon nd utlurae coMr aquesno
postiors lor UTp# efwr s, ____
Ii 7 n *-i r ~
a r- 1. 1



It would be possible to use these sequences of changes to
age tapirs. Just as with the cementum annuli, the sequence
of changes can act as the "calibration curve", thereby kno-
wing the age or stage of an animal by simply recording what
changes have happened to its skull due to aging. This is an
oversimplified picture, though, because there are at least two
levels of variability in the process; there is variability in the
order of changes in the sequence and there is variability in
the timing of each. He said, "...although there is great poten-
tial to use such data [for generating age calibration curves],

these patterns of tooth eruption and suture union have only
been partially determined for the different species, and have
not been related to the individual's absolute age. As always,
sample sizes of tapirs are small. However, there is an oppor-
tunity for the community of zookeepers and field researchers
to rectify this situation through a collaborative on-line effort.
Dental records associated with the tapir's actual age could be
kept for zoo animals."
Matt recognizes that the sequences he used would work
best for ageing young animals, as both kinds of variability
increase substantially with older skulls. "I couldn't determine
relative sequences for the many characters that fuse very late
in life which is a consequence of the very few samples of
really old tapirs in collections. Many of the latest fusing sutu-
res happen only in the oldest individuals. There is definitely
a pattern of increasing plasticity with age, which makes these
later characters less informative for establishing maturity and
age." The plasticity, or variability of appearance of a change
in the sequence can be inferred from the graph, if we assume
that the sorting of the sequences correlates with age of the
animals. This is not just a trivial assumption, as it happens, it
is an assumption implied in the sorting technique. "Perhaps
the more important thing is (that) the older closing sutures
are less reliable. This is indicated by the increased individual
polymorphism in the oldsters, as well as the increased range
of sequence position for such features. That is, variability in
the span of box axes' values for older individuals in the graph.
"I also suspect that many are likely to fuse as a consequence
of injury or trauma. As always, bigger samples will allow us to
say more about this..."

There are at least two caveats with using Dr. Colbert's
method to age tapirs. First, the animal must be dead to be
able to inspect its skull and record the character states for
ageing. "Dental patterns are obviously advantageous com-
pared to skeletal indicators", Matt acknowledged, "because
they can be surveyed in living animals (unless one has access
to X-radiographs!)." Although this presents a problem for
field researchers dealing with precious living study subjects,
it would nevertheless be a most welcome advance from the
present state of affairs. It would still allow just about anyone
else to age specimens, including samples of dead animals for
estimating survival rates.
Second, Dr. Colbert conducted his analyses independent
of age of the samples. Because of this, it is possible that all
the character changes he used in his analyses appear within
the first 10 years of a tapir's life. In that case, we will remain
unable to age older tapirs, or will need to use other charac-
ters. But he is confident that some of the changes he recorded
occur in very old animals: "I would still be quite confident in
saying that I have a really old animal if all I had was remains
of a [skull showing] fully fused occiput, where the mastoid
was fully fused to both supraoccipital and squamosal."
Dr. Colbert needed to generate some scoring system to
age the samples in order to address some of his initial ques-
tions. "With the highly variable sequences seen in suture

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Asking the Experts

closures, it is difficult to point to any single criterion (or even
sets of criteria) that could characterize all the samples at a
particular point in maturity." Because of this, he used the
sum of character scores to create "maturity scores". This
simple approach assumes that each character change pro-
vides the same value of information about an animal's age.
"Of course, if there was a compelling reason to do so, one
could weight characters," and thus assign higher value to cer-
tain character changes. There are a few desirable properties
inherent to his method. For one, "note that it doesn't matter
which characters change, (...) animals having different suites
of characters could have the same maturity score. This is to
be expected when there are polymorphic sequences [meaning
that the sequences vary from individual to individual, thereby
creating the variability observed in the graph]. One could cre-
ate pseudo-stages by lumping together all individuals with a
certain range of maturity scores (e.g., bins of 5, or 10, or wha-
tever increment was deemed appropriate). Indeed, it would
be reasonable to have the bin size change during maturation,
as the character's variability increases with maturity."
Dr. Colbert is now considering a strategy to tackle this
obstacle with better statistical tools. He commented that
" would be a good idea to try to fit the data to some sort
of PDF" (probability density function the reader is likely
familiar with the Normal or Gaussean PDF). A probability
density function is a statistical distribution function for a para-
meter, such as maturity scores. His newest idea is to "slice"
the graph above into bins, each representing a set of maturity
scores (defined as he previously did, or by other algorithms).
These scores could be used to develop a PDF that would
allow ageing of the animals. Clearly, the maturity scores must
be built from data from skulls of known age.
To better understand the idea, imagine that you are stan-
ding in front of the street recording the colour of the first 80
cars that pass by. Imagine also that a sort of calibration curve
exists relating the number of red cars you count to your age.
If you are 25 years old, you will likely record that 16 of the
first 80 cars are red; if you are 35, then the count is 20, and
so on. Similarly, if a researcher finds a skull and records the
state of 80 characters to determine the maturity score, then
she should be able to establish, with certain degree of con-
fidence, that the tapir was 10-15 years old because the cha-
racters scored 62. But the high levels of variability fog things
up. For example, animals in that bin on average score 57,
whereas those in the previous bin (say, 7-9) on average score
44, and those in the next (16-25) average 73. Fortunately,
statistical techniques come to our aid by showing that a skull
scoring 62 fits better in the 10-15 years old category than in
any other. How so? For theoretical reasons, the sampling for
maturity scores, as defined above, is suitably represented by
a Poisson PDE A Poisson PDF would be developed for each
age bin, and this could be used to tell if a score is within the
"normal range" of scores for the bin. By comparing among
bins it would be, in theory, straightforward to decide which
PDF the sample best fits in, thus obtaining an age estimate. In
our example above, a score of 62 would have a much smaller

likelihood of happening if the animal were in the 7-9 years or
in the 16-25 years bins, rather than in the 10-15 years bin.
Indeed, simple statistical calculations could tell how much
confidence the researcher would have in her assessment.
Moreover, a PDF could be built from the combined PDFs for
each bin, making the estimate more straightforward. Clear
as mud?
But again, to create the PDFs it is necessary to secure
many records of known age. The more bins defined, the
more PDFs that must be built, and the more data needed.
Alternatively, and because data is scarce, the PDFs can be
generated using a statistical tool called bootstrappingg."
Bootstrapping is simply an artificial means to generate
"bootstrap replicates" from a sample of a few individuals
by sampling with replacement. Bootstrapping may help by
reducing the need for large numbers of skulls of known age
for generating the PDF for each bin, but the more samples
used, the more the bootstrapped PDF will resemble the real
thing. "I doubt bootstrapping will be possible if we need 50
or so samples per 'stage', but this might depend on how the
stages (are) defined", commented Dr. Colbert, with a hint of
sarcasm due to his knowledge on the dearth of data. Another
critical aspect is choosing the right characters to develop the
scores, where those showing the least variability in sequence
of appearance would be most desirable.
The availability of a large collection of samples of known
age is critical to scientists' efforts to age tapirs. Ideally, this
collection would have several to many individuals of each age
class. If such a collection does not exist, at least an electronic
database of samples with known age from all museums and
zoos could be compiled. Anyone interested in knowing what
is available and where to review the specimens would find
this database most helpful. Also, it is never too late to begin
building such a collection by amassing in one location dead
specimens from zoos where tapirs with known age most
likely will come from.

Leonardo Salas
Freelance consultant, Indonesia
Phone: + 507-317-0064 or 317-0350
Fax: +507-317-0064

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003

Membership Directory



Local Research Coordinator, Malayan Tapir Project, Krau Wildlife Reserve
PERHILITAN Bukit Rengit, Krau Wildlife Reserve, 28500 Lanchang
Temerloh, Pahang State, Malaysia
Phone & Fax: +609-276-2348

Ph.D. Associate Professor, Sun Yat-Sen University
Director (Research & Conservation), Singapore Zoological Gardens
P.O. BOX 59-157, Kaohsiung, TAIWAN 80424
Phone: +886-7525-2000 Ext. 3623 / Fax: +886-7525-3623

M.Sc. Researcher, Instituto de Historia Natural y Ecologia
Calz. Cerro Hueco, s/n, P.O. BOX 6, Tuxtla GutiBrrez, Chiapas,
MEXICO 29000
Phone: +961-44765; 44459; 44701 / Fax: +961-44700

M.Sc. D.V.M. Jefe de Operaciones, UN.A.CH. I
Policlinica y Diagn6stico Veterinario
Blvd. Angel Albino Corzo # 635, Zona Militar, Tuxtla GutiBrrez, Chiapas,
MEXICO 29079
Phone & Fax: +01-9-614-4214

5. AYALA, GUIDO (Bolivia)
M.Sc. Ec6logo de Vida Silvestre, Wildlife Conservation Society Bolivia
Calle 21 de Calacoto No. 1100, Edif. San Miguel Bloque 1100, Oficina 102,
Phone: +591-2-277-2455; 2-211-7969; 2-212-6905 /
Fax: +591-2-277-2455
E-mail: I

6. BARONGI, RICK (United States)
Director, Houston Zoological Gardens
Malayan Tapir Studbook Keeper, American Zoo and Aquarium Association
(AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)
1513 N. MacGregor, Houston, Texas, UNITED STATES 77030
Phone: +1-713-533-6800/ Fax: +1-713-533-6802
E-mail: /

D.V.M. INPARQUES, Parque Zool6gico Las Delicias
Associate Researcher, Earthmatters.Org
Av. Las Delicias Norte, Parque Zool6gico Las Delicias,
Departamento de Veterinaria
Maracay, 2101-A Aragua, VENEZUELA
Phone & Fax: +58-243-241-3933

8. BODMER, RICHARD (United Kingdom)
Ph.D. Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation, Durrell Institute of
Conservation and Ecology, Eliot College, University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NS, UNITED KINGDOM
Phone: +44-1227-823-233 / Fax: +44-1227-827-289

Biologist, Procuradoria Federal de Protecci6n al Ambiente,
Asesores en el Manejo de Recursos Naturales, S.A. de C.V.
Carretera Ajusco, 200, 60 piso, Col. Jardines em La Montana,
Phone: +52-5587-1293 / Fax: +52-5587-1293
E-mail: I /

Licenciado, Researcher, Fundaci6n Espiritu del Bosque
Barcelona 311 y Tolosa, Pichincha, Quito, ECUADOR
Phone: +593-2-239-703 / Fax: +593-2-504-452
E-mail: I

11. CHALUKIAN, SILVIA (Argentina)
M.Sc. Researcher, El Rey National Park
Rio Negro 2508, 4400 Salta, ARGENTINA
Phone: +54-387-424-0861

12. CHONG, MIKE H.N. (Malaysia)
Coordinator, Freelance Naturalist, Bird Guide
Asian Raptor Research & Conservation Network-Information Centre /
Nature tours
208 Jalan H-8, Taman Melawati, 53100 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
Phone & Fax: +603-4107-1958

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Membership Directory

13. COLBERT, MATTHEW (United States)
Research Associate, Department of Geological Sciences,
University of Texas
Austin, Texas 78712, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-512-471-0260 / Fax: +1-512-471-9425

Biodiversity and Conservation Coordinator,
Red de Reservas Naturales de la Sociedad Civil
Avenida 9 norte No. 22-07, Barrio Santa Monica, Cali, COLOMBIA
Phone: +57-2-660-6133; 2-653-4539 / Fax: +57-2-660-6133

15. CUARON, ALFREDO D. (Mexico)
Departamento de Ecologia de los Recursos Naturales,
Institute de Ecologia, UNAM
Apartado Postal 27-3 (Xangari), Morelia, Michoacan 58089, MEXICO
Phone: +52-4-322-2786; 5-623-2786; 4-322-2777 Ext. 32786 /
Fax: +52-4-322-2719; 5-623-2719

16. DEE, MICHAEL (United States)
General Curator, Los Angeles Zoo
Mountain Tapir Studbook Keeper, American Zoo and Aquarium Association
(AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)
5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, California 90027, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-323-644-4254 / Fax: +1-323-662-9786
E-mail: /

17. DOWNER, CRAIG C. (United States)
President, Andean Tapir Fund
P.O. BOX 456, Minden, Nevada 89423-0456, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-775-267-3484 / Fax: +1-775-747-1642

18. FLESHER, KEVIN (United States)
Ph.D. Graduate Student, Rutgers University
55 Dudley Road, 2nd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901,
Phone: +1-732-932-9153 Ext. 351

President, Fundaci6n Apas, Universidad del Tolima
Oficina 19-04, Ibagub, Tolima, COLOMBIA
Phone: +033-331-9869 / Fax: +57-1-617-0068
E-mail: /

20. FOERSTER, CHARLES R. (United States I Costa Rica)
Project Leader, Baird's Tapir Project, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
445 CR 221, Orange Grove, Texas 78372, UNITED STATES
Phone & Fax: +1-719-228-0628

College of Environmental Science and Forestry SUNY
6 Illick Hall, 1 Forestry Dr., Syracuse, New York 13210-2778,
Phone: +1-315-470-6792 / Fax: +1-315-470-6934

22. FRANKLIN, NEIL (Indonesia)
Director, Indonesia Program, The Tiger Foundation (Canada) I
The Sumatran Tiger Trust (UK)
Prima Lingkar Asri B2/12, Jatibening, Bekasi, INDONESIA 17412
Phone & Fax: +62-0-21-865-0114 / Mobile: +62-0-811-998-881

23. FROHRING, HEIDI (United States)
Zookeeper, Woodland Park Zoological Gardens
2649 N.W. 60th St Seattle, Washington 98117, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-206-782-5964
E-mail: I

24. GALETTI, MAURO (Brazil)
Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Departamento de Ecologia, UNESP Rio Claro
Avenida 24-A, 1515, CP 199, Rio Claro CEP: 13506-900,
Sio Paulo, BRAZIL
Phone: +55-19-526-4145 / Fax: +55-19-534-0009

25. GARRELLE, DELLA (United States)
D.V.M. Director of Conservation and Animal Health,
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906,
Phone: +1-719-633-9925 Ext. 120 / Fax: +1-719-633-2254

26. GOFF, DON (United States)
Director of Animal Programs, Beardsley Zoological Gardens
Lowland Tapir Studbook Keeper, American Zoo and Aquarium Association
(AZA) Tapir Taxon Advirory Group (TAG)
1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06610, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-203-394-6564 / Fax: +1-203-394-6577

27. GONCALVES DA SILVA, ANDERS (Brazil I United States)
CERC Graduate Fellow, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program
Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC)
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B),
Columbia University
1200 Amsterdam Ave MC5556, New York, New York 10027,
Phone: +1-212-854-0377 / Fax: +1-212-854-8188

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003


Membership Directory

28. GREENE, LEWIS (United States)
Director, Virginia Zoological Park
Chair, American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA)
Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)
3500 Granby Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23504, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-757-441-2374

29. HERNANDEZ-DIVERS, SONIA M. (United States)
Adjunct Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine,
University of Georgia
Veterinary Advisor, American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA)
Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)
197 East Creek Bend, Athens, Georgia 30605, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-706-548-3414

30. HOLDEN, JEREMY (Indonesia)
Photographer, Flora and Fauna International
P.O. BOX 42, Kantor Pos, Sungai Penuh Kerinci, Jambi, Sumatra
Phone & Fax: +0-7482-2267
E-mail: /

31. HOLST, BENGT (Denmark)
M.Sc. Vice Director, Copenhagen Zoo
Chair, European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Tapir Taxon
Advisory Group (TAG)
Sdr. Fasanvej 79, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, DENMARK
Phone: +45-72-200-200; 72-200-220 / Fax: +45-72-200-219

32. JANSSEN, DONALD L. (United States)
Ph.D. Director, Veterinary Services, San Diego Wild Animal Park
Member, American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Tapir Taxon
Advisory Group (TAG)
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, San Diego, California 92027-7017,
Phone: +1-760-291-5401 /Fax: +1-760-747-3168

Chief, Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary Department of National Park,
Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department
Royal Forest Department of Thailand
P.O. Box 3, Waeng District, Narathiwat Province, 96160 Thailand
Phone: +6697-333101

Government Official National Park,
Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department
Royal Forestry Department of Thailand
Paholgothin Road, Chatujak, Bangkhen, Bangkok, THAILAND 10900
Phone: +662-940-7159 / Fax: +662-579-9874

35. KAWANISHI, KAE (Malaysia)
Ph.D. Technical Advisor, Division of Research and Conservation
Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP)
Km. 10, Jalan Cheras, 56100 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
Phone: +603-9075-2872 / Fax: +603-9075-2873
E-mail: I

36. KRANZ, KARL R. (United States)
Director of Biological Programs, Jacksonville Zoological Gardens
8605 Zoo Parkway, Jacksonville, Florida 32218, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-904-757-4463 Ext. 212 / Fax: +1-904-714-4441

37. LIZCANO, DIEGO (Colombia)
Researcher, UNIANDES / Ph.D. Graduate Student,
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent
A. A. 53804, Bogota 0107, DC, COLOMBIA
Phone: +57-1-281-4256
E-mail: I

38. LYNAM, ANTONY (Thailand)
Ph.D. Associate Conservation Ecologist, Wildlife Conservation Society
P.O. BOX 170, Laksi, Bangkok, THAILAND 10210
Phone & Fax: +66-2-574-0683

D.V.M. M.Sc. Wildlife Medicine and Management
Research Associate, IPE Instituto de Pesquisas Ecol6gicas
(Institute for Ecological Research)
Assistant Professor, Pontificia Universidade Cat6lica do Parana
Scientific Coordinator, Vida Livre Medicina de Animais Selvagens
Rua Professor Alvaro Jorge, 795, Apto. 15C BL 3, Curitiba CEP:
80320-040, Parana, BRAZIL
Phone: +55-41-3026-1846 /Mobile: +55-41-9996-5138
E-mail: I /

40. MARTYR, DEBORAH (Indonesia)
Team Leader, Flora and Fauna International
P.O. BOX 42, Kantor Pos, Sungai Penuh Kerinci, Jambi 13007,
Phone: +00-0-7482-2267 / 7462-1846 / Fax: +00-0-7482-2267
E-mail: I

41. MATOLA, SHARON (United States I Belize)
Director, Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center
P.O. BOX 1787, Belize City, BELIZE
Phone: +501-813-004 / Fax: +501-813-010

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Membership Directory

M.Sc. Research Coordinator, IPE Instituto de Pesquisas Ecol6gicas
(Institute for Ecological Research)
Avenida Perdizes, 285, Vila Sao Paulo, Teodoro Sampaio CEP: 19280-000,
Sao Paulo, BRAZIL
Phone & Fax: +55-18-3282-4690 / Mobile: +55-18-9711-6106
E-mail: I

43. MEIJAARD, ERIK (The Netherlands I Australia I Indonesia)
Post-Graduate Researcher, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology,
Australian National University
1/14 Portus Place, Bruce, 2617 ACT, Canberra, AUSTRALIA 0200
Phone: +61-2-6125-3557 / Fax: +61-2-6251-0193

Environmental Manager, Enviromental Sciences,
Universidad Tecnol6gica de Pereira
Carrera 4 bis #24-33, Pereira, Risaralda, COLOMBIA
Phone & Fax: +57-6-321-2443

45. MOLLINEDO, MANUEL A. (United States)
General Manager, Department of Recreation and Parks
200 N. Main Street, Room 1330, City Hall, Los Angeles, California 90012,
Phone: +1-213-473-6833 / Fax: +1-213-978-0014

Ph.D. Graduate Student, University of Florida / Instituto de Ciencias
Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Av. 1 de Mayo, # 39 A 49 Sur, Bogota, COLOMBIA
Phone: +57-1-203-5582

47. NARANJO, EDUARDO J. (Mexico)
Ph.D. Researcher, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur
Carr. Panamericana, Ap. 63, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas,
MEXICO 29290
Phone: +52-9678-1884 / Fax: +52-9678-2322

48. NAVEDA, ADRIAN JOSE (Venezuela)
T.S.U. en Recursos Naturales Renovables
Associate Researcher, EarthMatters.Org
Museo de la Estaci6n Biol6gica de Rancho Grande
Apartado Postal 4845, Maracay, 2101-A Aragua, VENEZUELA
Phone: +58-416-433-2160 / Fax: +58-243-235-8238

49. NOVARINO, WILSON (Indonesia)
Lecturer, Dept. Biology FMIPA, Andalas University
Jurusan Biologi FMIPA, Fakultas Matematika dan Ilmu Pengetahuan Alam
Kampus Limau Manis, Padang, Sumatera Barat, West Sumatra,
Phone & Fax: +062-0751-497952
E-mail: wilson n

50. NUNEZ, RUBEN (Ecuador)
President, Fundaci6n Bafos 2000, Fundaci6n Tapir y Biodiversidad Ecuador
Universidad Escuela Politecnica Ecologica Amazonica ESPEA
Barrio Ecol6gico 5 de Junio, Calle Rocafuerte 806 y Juan Le6n Mera,
P.O. BOX 1803, Bafos, Tungurahua, ECUADOR
Phone: +59-303-740 447

51. OTHMAN, SAHIR (Malaysia)
Director, Protected Areas Division
Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP)
Km. 10, Jalan Cheras, 56100 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
Phone: +603-9075-2872 / Fax: +603-9075-2873

D.V.M. Gerente del Departamento de Veterinaria, Africam Safari
11 Oriente 2407, Col. Azcarate, Puebla, MEXICO 72007
Phone: +22-360-933 / Fax: +22-363-049

Ph.D. Technical Forest Official National Park, Wildlife and Plant
Conservation Department
Royal Forest Department of Thailand
61 Phaholyothin Road, Chatuchack, Bangkok, THAILAND 10900
Phone: +66-2-561-4292 Ext. 797 / Fax: +66-2-579-7048

54. ROMAN, JOSEPH (United States)
Curator, Virginia Zoological Park
Baird's Tapir Studbook Keeper, American Zoo and Aquarium Association
(AZA) Tapir Thxon Advisory Group (TAG)
3500 Granby Street, Norfolk, VA 23504, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-757-624-9937 Ext. 267 / Fax: +1-757-624-9939

55. SALAS, LEONARDO (Venezuela I Indonesia)
Ph.D. Freelance Consultant, Indonesia
JL Pemuda, 92 The Nature Conservancy, Tanjung Redeb, Kalimantan
Timur 77311, INDONESIA
Phone: +62-554-22954

Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003

Membership Directory

Asistente de Investigador, Instituto de Historia Natural y Ecologia
Calz. Cerro Hueco, s/n, Colonia El Zapotal, P.O. BOX 6, Tuxtla GutiBrrez,
Chiapas, MEXICO 29000
Phone: +9-61-44765; 44459; 44701 / Fax: +9-61-44700

Cr 1B Sur No. 10-15, Urbanizacion Makunaima, Jamundi,
Valle del Cauca, COLOMBIA
Phone & Fax: +57-1-289-1570
E-mail: I

D.V.M. M.Sc. Candidate, Universidade do Estado de Sao Paulo
Rua Anhanguera, 150, Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Jaboticabal, CEP:
14870-000, Sao Paulo, BRAZIL
Phone: +55-16-3209-2678

59. SEITZ, STEFAN (Germany)
Ph.D. Zoologist: Zoo Biology, Behaviour, and Captive Management
4TAPIRS Information Center
Bonndorfer Strasse 19, 68239 Mannheim, GERMANY
Phone & Fax: +49-621-471-428
E-mail: I

60. SHOEMAKER, ALAN H. (United States)
Member, American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Tapir Taxon
Advisory Group (TAG)
330 Shareditch Road, Columbia, South Carolina 29210, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-803-772-6701

Biologist, Departamento de Ecologia y Sistematica Terrestre, El Colegio de
la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)
Calle 18 de Julio, 29, Colonia Gilberto Palacios de la Rosa, Chapingo,
Texcoco, MEXICO 56230
Phone: +967-87-896; 595-46-976

62. TILSON, RONALD (United States)
Ph.D. Director of Conservation, Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-952-431-9267 / Fax: +1-952-431-9452
E-mail: /

63. TODD, SHERYL (United States)
President, Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF)
P.O. Box 118, Astoria, Oregon 97103, UNITED STATES
Phone: +1-503-325-3179

President, Fundaci6n AndigenA
Apartado Postal 210, M6rida 5101-A, Edo. M6rida, VENEZUELA
Phone: +58-7-421-9993
E-mail: fundacion

65. TORRES, IVAN LIRA (Mexico)
M.C. M.V.Z. Research Associate
Universidad del Mar Campus Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, C.P. 71980, MEXICO
Phone: +01-954-588-3365 / Fax: +01-954-582-3550

66. TRAEHOLT, CARL (Denmark I Malaysia)
Research Coordinator, Malayan Tapir Project, Krau Wildlife Reserve,
Copenhagen Zoo
D3 Selangor Properties, Ukay Heights, 68000 Ampang, MALAYSIA
Phone & Fax: +603-4256-6910

67. VAN STRIEN, NICO (The Netherlands I Indonesia)
Ph.D. SE Asia Coordinator, International Rhino Foundation
Tower 3, Unit 23B, Kondominium Taman Anggrek, Lt 6
JI. Let. Jen. S. Parman Kav 21. Slipi, Jakarta, INDONESIA 11470
Phone: +62-21-560-9401 / Fax: +62-21-560-9402
Julianaweg 2, 3941DM, Doom, THE NETHERLANDS
Phone: +31-343-420-445 / Fax: +31-343-420-447

68. WALLACE, ROBERT B. (Bolivia)
Ph.D. Associate Conservation Zoologist,
Wildlife Conservation Society, Madidi
Calle 21 de Calacoto No. 1100, Edif. San Miguel Bloque 1100, Oficina 102,
Phone: +591-2-277-2455; 2-211-7969; 2-212-6905 /
Fax: +591-2-277-2455

69. WATERS, SIAN (United Kingdom I Canada)
Scientific Officer, Cochrane Ecological Institute
14 Lindsay Gardens, Tredegar, Gwent NP22 4RP, UNITED KINGDOM
Phone: +44-0-1495-722-117
E-mail: sian s

70. WATKINS, GRAHAM (Guyana)
Ph.D. Senior Wildlife Biologist, Interim Project Implementation Manager
Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and
67 Bel Air, P.O. BOX 10630, Georgetown, GUYANA
Phone: +59-2-225-1504 / Fax: +59-2-225-9199
E-mail: /

December 2003 Vol. 12 / No. 2 Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Tapir Conservation The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Structure & Positions

Patricia Medici, Brazil

Deputy-Chair Charles R. Foerster, United States/Costa Rica
Baird's Tapir Coordinator Eduardo Naranjo, Mexico
Mountain Tapir Coordinator Emilio Constantino, Colombia

Lowland Tapir Coordinator

Malayan Tapir Coordinator

Newsletter Editors

Fundraising Coordinator

Tapir Action Plan
Review Coordinator
Zoo Coordinator

Veterinary Support
Red List Authority

Red List Committee

Evolution Consultant


List Serve Moderator

Denis Alexander Torres, Venezuela
E-mail: fundacion
Carl Traeholt, Denmark/Malaysia
Sian S. Waters, UK
E-mail: sian s
Stefan Seitz, Germany
Patricia Medici, Brazil
Patricia Medici, Brazil
Sian S. Waters, UK
E-mail: sian s
Sonia Hernandez-Divers, United States
Alan Shoemaker, United States
Eduardo Naranjo, Mexico
Emilio Constantino, Colombia
Denis Alexander Torres, Venezuela
E-mail: fundacion
Nico van Strien, The Netherlands
Matthew Colbert, United States
Gilia Angell, United States
E-mail: gilia
Mike Chong, Malaysia


Tapir Conservation Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Vol. 12 / No. 2 December 2003

Notes for Contributors

Scope This newsletter aims to provide information regarding all
aspects of tapir natural history. Items of news, recent events, recent
publications, thesis abstracts, workshop proceedings etc concerning
tapirs are welcome. Manuscripts should be submitted in MS Word.

Deadlines There are two deadlines per year. They are 31 March for
publication in June and 30 September for publication in December.

Please include the full name and address of the authors underneath the
title of the article and specify who is the corresponding author.

Full length articles on any aspect of tapir natural history should not
be more than 15 pages in length (including references). An abstract is
required and British English spelling is requested.

Figures and Maps. Articles etc can include black and white photo-
graphs, high quality figures and high quality maps and tables.

References. Please refer to these examples when listing references:

Herrera, J.C., Taber, A., Wallace, R.B. & Painter, L. 1999. Lowland tapir
(Tapirus terrestris) behavioral ecology in a southern Amazonian tropical
forest. Vida Silv. Tropicale 8:31-37.

Chapter in Book
Janssen, D.L., Rideout, B.A. & Edwards, M.S. 1999. Tapir Medicine. In:
M.E. Fowler & R. E. Miller (eds.) Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, pp.562-
568. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, USA.

Brooks, D.M., Bodmer, R.E. & Matola, S. 1997. Tapirs: Status, Survey
and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Foerster. C.R. 1998. Ambito de Hogar, Patron de Movimentso y Dieta
de la Danta Centroamericana (Tapirus bairdii en el Parque Nacional
Corcovado, Costa Rica. M.S. thesis. Universidad Nacional, Heredia,
Costa Rica.

Santiapilli, C. & Ramono, W.S. 1989. The Status and Conservation of
the Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) in Sumatra, Indonesia. Unpublished
Report, Worldwide Fund for Nature, Bogor, Indonesia.

Please send all contributions to Sian S. Waters,
sian s
or by hard copy to this postal address:
14 Lindsay Gardens, Tredegar, Gwent NP22 4RP UK.

The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

Volume 12, Number 2, December 2003

Letter from the Chair ............................................................................................................................... 3

TSG News ..................................................................................................................................................... 5
* TSG Conservation Fund 2003
P a tricia M e d ici .................................................................................................................................................................. 5
TSG Committee Reports
* Update from the TSG Veterinary Committee
Sonia M. Hernandez-Divers and Donald Janssen .............................................. ................................................... 7
* Update from the TSG Zoo Committee
S i n S W waters ..................................................................................................... ...................................... . ............ 7

Conservation ........................................................................................................................................... 8
* The Malay Tapir Conservation Workshop: A Major Success
P a tricia M e d ici .................................................................................................................................................................. 8

Current Project Updates ........................................................................................................................ 11
* Ecology and Conservation of the Mountain Tapir in the Central Andes of Colombia
Diego J. Lizcano ............................................................... ...... 11
* Tolima Jimba Kush
Franz K ast6 n F l6rez ............................................................................................. ..................................... .............. 13
* Attitudes to Tapirs, Wilderness, and Wildlife Conservation in and around Sangay National Park, Ecuador
Craig C. Downer ............................................................... ....... 14

News from Captivity .............................................................................................................................. 16
* Publication Announcement for the Revised AZA Husbandry Guidelines for Tapirs ................................................... ... 16
* Status, Origin, and Diet of Captive Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) in the State of Santa Catarina, Southern Brazil
Alexey Bevilacqua Tormin Borges & Marcos Adriano Tortato ........................................................ ........................... 16
SRecent Births of Mountain Tapirs ...................................................................................................... ........................ 17

Contributed Papers ................................................................................................................................ 18
* The Age Structure of Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) in the Chaco
L eo nardo M affei ........................................ .... ........................................... ........................................... .............. 18
* The Lowland Tapir in the Caraga Reserve, Minas Gerais State, Brazil: Preliminary Results
Edsel A. Moraes Junior, Joaquim A. Silva & Rafael L.A. Freitas ...................................... ......................... ... 20
* Feeding as a Method of Environmental Enrichment for Malay Tapirs (Tapirus indicus) at Nuremberg Zoo, Germany
Susanne Zenzinger ........................................... ....................................................................... 23

Asking the Experts ................................................................................................................................ 26
* How Old is an Old Tapir?
L eo n ard o S a las .............................................................................................................................................................. 2 6

IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Membership Directory .................................................. ...................30

IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group Structure & Positions ............................................ ......................... 35

Notes for Contributors ........................................................................................................................... 35

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