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: January 2007
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.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095885
Volume ID: VID00020
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 56897961
lccn - 2004215875
issn - 1813-2286


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Full Text

ISSN 1813-2286
Volume 15/2 U No. 20
December 2006


Tapir Conservation

-.i; Edite b Leonardo Solos and Stefan Seit
Suppr td *0. .
* T G Conservation Fund Supported j ePject; H

0 J l. Ta- i dis


- -

''' "

... 1
VNR 71 1




Volume 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006

From the Chair
Letter from the Chair

TSG Committee Reports 8
Fundraising Committee
TSG Conservation Fund (TSGCF) -
Successful Applicants for the TSGCF in 2006 8
Marketing Committee 9

Fundraising 10
,,Save the Tapir" Campaign Collects Funds for the TSG 10

Interview II
Interview with Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Echandi I I

News from the Field 13
Humans Attacked by a Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) in the
Sierra de Agalta National Park, Olancho, Honduras 13

Contributed Papers 14
Population Dynamics and DNA Microsatellite Survey
in the Lowland Tapir 14
Evaluaci6n del Habitat para la Danta Centroamericana
(Tapirus bairdii) en la Zona Norte de Costa Rica 17
Assessing the Sustainability of Baird's Tapir Hunting in the
Bosawas Reserve, Nicaragua 23
Confirmaci6n de la Presencia del Tapir Centroamericano
(Tapirus bairdii) en Colombia, y Estudio Preliminar sobre
Algunos Aspectos de su Historia Natural en el Parque
Nacional Natural Los Katfos 29
Using PCR-SSCP as Tool to Detect Polymorphism in Tapirs 37

TSG Members 39

TSG Structure 43

Notes for Contributors 43

The views expressed in Tapir Conservation are those of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the IUCN/SSC
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 photo-

Cover Photo Credits:
Large and background photo of lowland tapir baby and mother.
Credit: Liana John / Terra da Gente.
Check-holding at Houston Zoo: pictured, left to right:John
Bovyar, Jennifer McLain and Kelly Russo of the Houston Zoo.
Credit: John Bovyar.



Editorial Board



& Distribution


Tapir Cons.


William Konstant

Leonardo Salas

Diego J. Lizcano

Alan H. Shoemaker

Matthew Colbert

Anders Gongalves da Silva

Angela Glatston

Patricia Medici

Sheryl Todd

Leonardo Salas

Stefan Seitz

Kelly J. Russo

Rick Barongi

This issue is kindly sponsored by Houston Zoo
Inc., Cons. Program Asst., Kelly Russo, 1513 North
Mac Gregor, Houston,Texas 77030, USA.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006



Letter from the Chair

By Patricia Medici

W e have done it once again we have completed six
very busy months for the Tapir Specialist Group!
The list to report is long, so please bear with me...
First of all, I would like to let you know that Sian
Waters has resigned her position as TSG's Co-Deputy-
Chair, and on behalf of the entire TSG membership I
would like to thank Sian for everything she has done
for the Tapir Specialist Group. Sian will continue wor-
king with us on the coordination of the Human/Tapir
Conflict and Malay Tapir working groups. We have
had other changes on our group's structure so I would
advice you to take a good look at our TSG Structure
directory on this issue.
Several new members have joined the group over
the past few months, and currently, the TSG has
104 members, including field researchers, educa-
tors, veterinarians, governmental agencies and NGO
representatives, zoo personnel, university professors
and students, from 27 different countries worldwide
(Argentina, Australia, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada,
Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, France,
French Guiana, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras,
Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Republic of
Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, The Netherlands,
United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela). Please
see TSG Membership directory included in this issue.
I am very pleased to announce that the Final
Report of the "Baird's Tapir Conservation Workshop:

Cover of the
"Baird's Tapir
Population and
Habitat Viability
(PHVA)" held in
Belize, Central
America, in
August 2005.

4L I I *'f E -
, LW0L.,t-A6 a -E

Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA)"
held in Belize, Central America, in August 2005, has
been finalized and made available online on the TSG
website. Unfortunately, this first version of the Baird's
Tapir Action Plan is available only in Spanish, but we
are looking for volunteers to translate this document,
as well as the Mountain Tapir Action Plan developed in
2004, into English. If you have any suggestions of any-
one you know that could help us with this huge task, I
would appreciate hearing about them!!!
The new, updated Baird's Tapir Action Plan is
available at:
index.html and I would like to ask all of you to please
help us distribute this action plan to all interested
parties and stakeholders in your countries. We are
counting on your help to guarantee that all resear-
chers and organizations directly or indirectly involved

The lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) will be the focus
of the last Tapir PHVA to be held at the Sorocaba Zoo,
Sio Paulo, Brazil, from 15 to 19 April, 2006.
PHOTO CREDIT: Patricia Medici.

with Baird's tapir conservation in the range countries
and/or with ex-situ programs will have access to this
plan and, most importantly, will help us to put our
actions into practice. We will not print the document,
so the distribution process has been done via e-mail
and our website. We do have a CD label ready to be
used in the case you want to burn CDs and distribute
them in your country. If you would like to receive the
label, you just have to let me know and I will send it to
you right away.
Considering that there are four tapir species, and
that three of them have been the focus of previous
PHVA workshops Malay Tapir PHVA Workshop held
in Malaysia in 2003, Mountain Tapir PHVA Workshop
held in Colombia in 2004, and Baird's Tapir PHVA
Workshop held in Belize in 2005 we can now say
that we have finalized 75% of the second version of
the Tapir Action Plan, listing and prioritizing strategies
and actions for the conservation of these three species
and their remaining habitats.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


We are now left with one last species to work with
- the Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris). This fourth
meeting Lowland Tapir Conservation Workshop:
Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA)
- will be held from April 15 to 19, 2007, in the
Municipality of Sorocaba, Sio Paulo State, Brazil. Our
major partners for the organization of this workshop
are the Houston Zoo Inc. in the United States, and
the Sorocaba Zoo and IPE Instituto de Pesquisas
Ecol6gicas in Brazil. The IUCN/SSC Conservation
Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) Headquarters and
its Brasil Network will be responsible for the design
and facilitation of the workshop.
Currently, a planning committee formed by TSG
members, as well as CBSG staff and local partners are
working really hard to raise the necessary funds for
the meeting, as well as on the invitation process and
organization of the local logistics.
In terms of fundraising, the Houston Zoo Inc., as well
as the AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association)
and EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria)
Tapir Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs), have once again
joined forces to conduct a major fundraising campaign
targeting zoos in order to help us raise the necessary
funding to make this last PHVA workshop happen. All
lowland tapir holders in North America and Europe
received a letter from us requesting support for the
workshop. So far, we have received quite a significant
number of positive responses, including eleven (11)
zoos in the United States (Alexandria Zoo, Brookfield
Zoo, Denver Zoo, Evansville Zoo, Houston Zoo Inc.,
Mesker Park Zoo, Miami Metro Zoo, San Antonio Zoo,
San Diego Zoo, San Francisco, and Wildlife World
Zoo), three (3) zoos in Europe (Copenhagen Zoo in
Denmark, Zlin-Lesna Zoo in the Czech Republic, and
Herberstein Zoo in Austria), and also a generous con-
tribution from WAZA (World Association of Zoos and
Aquariums). Needless to say, we all are very grateful
for their contributions and, most importantly, for their
support on making this last workshop happen!!!
This workshop has been especially difficult to
organize given the fact that the geographic distributi-
on of this tapir species covers a huge area, almost all
of South America including 11 different range coun-
tries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador,
French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname,
and Venezuela), from which we need to make sure to
have a good representation. Approximately 200 key
conservationists and organizations have been invited to
attend the workshop and in the end we are expecting
to have 80 participants. This process of inviting key
stakeholders and building our list of participants is the
most delicate part of the organization of a PHVA given
the fact that we must guarantee that all key people and
organizations will be present, including researchers,
conservationists, representatives from NGOs and

governmental agencies, members of the local commu-
nities, research institutes, zoos, universities etc.
A smaller TSG meeting was carried out during the
"VII International Congress on Wildlife Management in
the Amazon and Latin America" held from September
3 to 7, 2006, in Ilh6us, Bahia, Brazil. This internatio-
nal conference is held every two years in Latin America
and is an excellent opportunity for TSG members to
meet in between Tapir Symposia. The TSG meeting in
Bahia was a 6-hour session, which was initiated with a
general presentation about the TSG as a whole given by
myself. We then followed with a series of very good pre-
sentations about lowland tapir research and conserva-
tion in Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, and Peru, and
a final working group facilitated by TSG member Kevin
Flesher who has been conducting a major project to
determine and map the biogeography of lowland tapirs
in the Atlantic Forest ecosystem. Kevin's work will be
extremely important in terms of generating precious
information for the upcoming Lowland Tapir PHVA
Workshop and we used this opportunity in Ilh6us to get
as much input as we could from as many participants
as possible on the current presence/absence of tapirs
throughout their historical range.
Still on the subject of TSG participation in confe-
rences and meetings, our group continues to be repre-
sented in the annual conferences of both the American
Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) and European
Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). The main
idea behind attending these zoo conferences is to make
sure we have the chance to meet our donors so that we
can keep them informed about how we have been using
their contributions and, most importantly, so that we
can thank them in person! This year we had a large
group of TSG members attending the AZA Conference

Manager of
Latin America
Programs of the
Houston Zoo
and member of
the TSG, is the
new Chair of
the AZA Tapir
Taxon Advisory
Group (TAG).
Patricia Medici.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


in late September, in Tampa, Florida, and I attended
the EAZA conference in the second week of October,
in Madrid, Spain. During the conference in Madrid
I made a presentation during the Tapir TAG meeting,
which consisted of a very detailed overview of the cur-
rent work of the TSG and I also made absolutely sure
to acknowledge all the support we have been receiving
from European zoos, support that has been growing
over the years and have been critical to make some of
our conservation initiatives happen.
Speaking of Tapir TAGs... I would like to announce
that Alberto Mendoza, Manager of Latin American
Programs of the Houston Zoo Inc. in the United States

Cover of the
Issue of the
"Terra da
A I0-page tapir
article written
by renowned
tal journalist
- Liana John- -
is included.

and a very active member of the TSG, is the new chair
of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA)
Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG). Alberto is repla-
cing Lewis Greene, Director of the Chaffee Zoo, who
served as chair of the AZA Tapir TAG for the past
three years. On behalf of the entire TSG membership I
would like to thank Lewis for all his efforts to establish
a strong, long-lasting partnership between the TAG and
the TSG, and congratulate Alberto for his new position.
We are looking forward to continuing making this part-
nership stronger and stronger and, most importantly,
beneficial for tapir conservation as a whole.
Our TSG Veterinary Committee, now chaired by
Colombian Veterinarian Javier Sarria Perea, is current-
ly putting a lot of effort into finishing our long-awaited
Tapir Veterinary Manual, which will include procedu-
res for capture, immobilization and manipulation of
tapirs in the wild, as well as details about how to coll-
ect samples for epidemiological studies, what samples
to collect, how to store them, what analysis to carry
out, necropsy protocols etc. Additionally, Javier has
worked with ISIS International Species Information
System in order to make the "Physiological Data
Reference Values for Tapir Species" available on our

TSG website. The ISIS database is the most complete
and extensive wildlife health information source, and
for a long time we wanted to make the tapir normal
physiological values available to all professionals invol-
ved with tapir health investigation.

O ur TSG Fundraising Committee had a busy couple
of months between June and September organi-
zing and carrying out the 2006 Funding Cycle of our
TSG Conservation Fund (TSGCF). We were successful
raising a considerable amount of funding during the
live and silent auctions conducted during the Third
International Tapir Symposium in Buenos Aires,

Argentina, in January, and therefore, the original idea
for this year's TSGCF funding cycle was to distribute
five (5) grants of US$ 1,000 dollars. However, and
to our great surprise, we received a generous dona-
tion from the Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF) Heidi
Frohring Fund that allowed us to select a sixth pro-
posal for funding. As you will probably remember,
Heidi Frohring was a TSG member who passed away
last year. Her family has been raising and donating
funds to tapir conservation in memory of Heidi, and
we were extremely happy to see part of this funding
being used through the TSG Conservation Fund. We
have no doubt whatsoever that this would have made
Heidi very happy!
We received twelve (12) proposals and our revie-
wing committee selected six (6) of them. Each one of
the six selected projects received a grant of US$ 1,000.
Selected proposals were: Conservation of Baird's Tapir
in Guatemala Manolo Garcia, Guatemala; Population
Status and Conservation of Baird's Tapir in the Zoque
Forest, Mexico Ivan Lira Torres, Mexico; Determining
the Presence of Andean Tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) in
the Massif of Mamapacha (Boyaca, Colombia) Javier
Sarria Perea, Colombia; Lowland Tapir Footprint

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Identification Technique (FIT) Cristina T6foli, Brazil;
Foraging Habitat Preferences, Diet Composition, and
Seed Dispersal of the Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris)
in the Interior Atlantic Forest of Paraguay Miguel
Morales, Paraguay; and Tapir Density and Habitat Use
in El Rey-Centinela Conservation Unit: First Stage -
Silvia Chalukian, Argentina. Congratulations Manolo,
Ivan, Javier, Miguel, Cristina, and Silvia! We are very

TSG member Kevin Flesher working with
participants of the TapirWorkshop during the
Wildlife Conservation and Management Conference
held in Ilheus, Bahia, in September 2006.
PHOTO CREDIT: Patricia Medici.

happy to be able to help you, even if just a little bit... In
fact, we cannot help it but be absolutely ecstatic about
the fact that the TSG has been able to support some
projects financially. This is, in my opinion, one of the
major accomplishments of our group!!!
For further information about the 2006 selec-
ted projects and applicants see the article "TSG
Conservation Fund 2006 Funding Cycle Successful
Applicants" in this issue. You can also find additional
information on our website:
tsgcf-projects2006.html which also includes informati-
on about all projects funded by the TSG Conservation
Fund since its establishment in 2003.
Besides conducting this year's funding cycle of
the TSG Conservation Fund, our TSG Fundraising
Committee has finalized our official list of tapir projects
endorsed by the TSG. The main idea behind the crea-
tion of the TSG List of Endorsed Projects was to have
a menu of tapir projects that funding agencies could
review and select the ones that fit their interests. We
started working on this list last year when we reques-
ted all our TSG members and other tapir researchers
to send us abstracts of their tapir projects, as well as
general information about the budgets, including the
annual and total cost of the project, how much funding

has been secured, and how much is still pending.
The final result is a comprehensive list of 55
tapir projects, including 13 projects on Baird's tapirs
(Belize 2, Colombia 1, Costa Rica 3, Ecuador
- 1, Guatemala 1, Honduras 1, Mexico 3, and
Panama 1); 23 projects on lowland tapirs (Argentina
- 9, Bolivia 2, Brazil 6, Colombia 1, Ecuador 2,
French Guiana 1, Paraguay 1, and Peru 1); 12 pro-
jects on mountain tapirs (Colombia 7, Ecuador 3,
and Peru 2); 3 projects on Malay tapirs (Indonesia
- 1, Malaysia 1, and Myanmar 1); and 4 general
projects including more than one species or internati-
onal initiatives.
The TSG List of Endorsed Projects is available onli-
ne on the TSG website (
index.html) and will be soon distributed to potential
funding sources, including zoos in North America,
Europe, Latin America and Asia, as well as conservati-
on organizations and other funding institutions. For a
researcher, having the project information on this list
means that it will get excellent exposure with potential
funding opportunities for his/her tapir conservation
initiatives. The list has been used by several funding
agencies already. Besides the list of endorsed projects,
we also have available on our website our TSG Project
Endorsement Guidelines in English, Spanish and
Additionally, the TSG Fundraising Committee is
currently discussing the development of a list of "Top
Ten Tapir Conservation Projects", very much in the
same way the Primate Specialist Group developed a
list of 25 most endangered primates. This idea is lis-
ted as a priority action on our TSG Strategic Planning
for 2006-2007 and comes from our need to focus our
fundraising efforts to raise funds for priority projects.
The list will be a living directory which will be re-evalu-
ated every two years during the Tapir Symposium.
Another major piece of good news is the recent
publication of a 10-page article on tapirs on the very
well known Brazilian nature magazine called "Terra
da Gente". The article was written by one of the
most respected environmental journalists in Brazil
- Liana John and explored not only lowland tapirs,
the species that occurs in Brazil, but also the other
three tapir species, as well as projects being carried
out worldwide, conservation initiatives in general and,
most importantly, the work of the Tapir Specialist
Group. The article has generated a huge feedback to
the TSG in Brazil and has provided high exposure to
the tapir conservation cause. We would like to thank
Liana for an amazing piece of work! The article is
available online on the TSG website in PDF format.
If you visit our website regularly you probably
noticed that we have finally made ALL previous versi-
ons of our Tapir Conservation newsletter since 1990
available for download! All the issues of the newsletter

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


published before 2002 were still in printed format in
our personal libraries and had to be scanned and con-
verted into PDF in order to be made available on the
website. So... if you are curious to learn what the TSG
was up to during the 1990's make sure to check it out

would like to announce that our TSG Virtual
Library is finally ONLINE!!! The creation and estab-
lishment of this library was also included as one of the
priority actions on our TSG Strategic Planning 2006-
2007 and was one of our major tasks for 2006!!!
Once the idea of the virtual library was conceived, it
was put into practice through a joint volunteer project
of the TSG and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas
(BRIT) in the United States. The project was spearhea-
ded by TSG member Harald Beck, who put together
a group of students to initiate the development of the
library and the compilation of literature, and kept us
all on track for launching this database quickly. TSG
member Mathias Tobler joined the effort a few months
later and introduced us to the BRIT virtual library sys-
tem, which we decided to adopt. Jason Best and Anton
Weber from BRIT, as well as our TSG Webmaster Gilia
Angell and our TSG Server Administrator Benjamin
Leblond, were other fundamental collaborators of this
project... and all I can say to all of them is a big, fat
The TSG Virtual Library aims to make available all
published literature on the four species of tapirs. Right
now, the library includes over 500 tapir bibliographical
references including scientific articles, book chapters,
BS / M.Sc. / Ph.D. Dissertations etc. all in PDF format.
All the literature that was already available online
from different virtual libraries around the world was
downloaded, and all bibliography we had in printed
format in our own personal collections was scanned
and converted into PDF After all this very time-
consuming work, we do believe it is safe to assume that
we have been able to collect just about EVERYTHING
ever published about tapirs and that our Virtual Library
is THE most amazing collection of tapir information,
which is now available for download from the TSG
website absolutely for free!!!
All users may browse article references and
abstracts by searching by keyword. However for now,
only TSG members will have an account and will be
able to download full articles. At the moment we are
seeking permissions from publishers in order to avoid
copyright problems, and once this issue is taken care
of, we will be able to make the library available to any
visitors of the TSG website.
We aim to make the TSG Virtual Library a constant-
ly updated and robust resource for tapir researchers
and those interested in accessing published studies

Harald Beck from Germany and Mathias Tobler from
Switzerland... the two men behind the creation of the
TSG Virtual Library.
PHOTO CREDITS: William Konstant (Mathias Tobler's
photo) and Harald Beck (Harald Beck's photo).

and articles on tapirs which are often difficult to obtain
in hard copy. For this reason, we would appreciate
your help in keeping our library updated. We would
like to ask all of you to please take some time to go
through the library at and
make sure we have all tapir literature available. If you
notice we are missing an article, a dissertation or any
other type of tapir literature, please make sure to let
us know. Please let us know if you have any additi-
onal tapir-related articles to add. And if you publish
something about tapirs, please let us know as soon as
possible and send us a copy of your publication. It is
very important that all of us work together to keep this
library constantly up to date.
Enjoy the library! We strongly believe that the esta-
blishment of this library is A MAJOR accomplishment
of the Tapir Specialist Group and we hope this new tool
will be very useful for our tapir conservation efforts!

Patricia Medici
M.Sc. Wildlife Ecology, Conservation and Management
Research Coordinator, IPE Instituto de Pesquisas
Ecol6gicas (Institute for Ecological Research), Brazil
Ph.D. Graduate Student, Durrell Institute of Conservation
and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, UK
Chair, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)
Convener, IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist
Group (CBSG) Brasil Network
Avenida Perdizes, 285, Vila Sao Paulo, Teodoro Sampaio
CEP: 19280-000, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Phone & Fax: +55-18-3282-4690 /
Cell Phone: +55-18-8119-3839

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


TSG COMMITTEE REPORTS Fundraising Committee
TSG Conservation Fund (TSGCF)

Successful Applicants
for the TSGCF in 2006

Conservation of Baird's Tapir in Guatemala

Manolo Garcia,
COUNTRY: Guatemala
SPECIES: Baird's tapir

ABSTRACT: This project is the
beginning of an educational pro-
gram for the conservation of Baird's
tapir and its habitat in Guatemala. A
workshop will be held in order to
contact organizations (governmental
and NGOs) which work in areas of
potential distribution of Baird's tapir
in the country, to form a support
network and to get specific informa-
tion about the tapir's status in each
area. With the data collected in the
workshop, educational and divulgati-
on material will be designed, printed
and given to the organizations for local and regional dissemination.
With the creation of the support network we expect a flow of infor-
mation and cooperation between organizations. This workshop and
the design of the educational material will represent the start of an
educational program for Guatemala, and valuable information is going
to be generated for the development of a National Action Plan for the
conservation of the tapir and its habitats.

Population Status and Conservation of
Baird's Tapir in the Zoque Forest, Mexico

Ivan Lira Torres, ilira I
SPECIES: Baird's tapir

ABSTRACT: Baird's tapir had a con-
tinuous distribution from southeastern
Mexico to northwestern Colombia,
ranging from coastal forests and
wetlands at sea level to cloud forests
and piramos above 3,000 meters.
However, high rates of deforestation,
habitat fragmentation and over hunting
have restricted current tapir distributi-
on to mostly protected and/or remote
areas. Given the fast human population
growth in southeastern Mexico, it is
essential to maintain large preserves

extant for the survival of viable tapir populations. It is also very
important to identify large forest fragments where tapirs remain in
order to promote habitat management, hunting regulation, and other
conservation practices in surrounding human communities.This pro-
ject aims to: (I) estimate the distribution, abundance, home range,
and movement patterns of tapir populations inside Zoque Forest; (2)
assess the impact of hunting on the specie considered; and (3) design
and propose a conservation strategy that contemplates the sustai-
nable use and monitoring of the species in collaboration with local
inhabitants. These objectives are thoroughly included in the Action
Plan's list of priorities for Baird's tapir conservation.

Determining the Presence of Andean
Tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) in the Massif of
Mamapacha (Boyaca, Colombia)

Javier Adolfo Sarria Perea,
COUNTRY: Colombia
SPECIES: mountain tapir

ABSTRACT: The Mamapacha mas-
sif is an isolated fragment of 27,512
hectares of cloud forest and p)ramos,
located in the department of Boyaco
in the north of the Colombian Eastern
Cordillera. Recently a few uncon-
firmed reports of the Andean tapir
in this area were reported, which if
correct may imply its northernmost
distribution. This project aims to col-
lect scientific evidence of the presence
of the Andean tapir in the Mamapacha

Lowland Tapir Footprint Identification
Technique (FIT)

Cristina T6foli,
SPECIES: lowland tapir

ABSTRACT: The lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is listed as
endangered on the Red List of Sio Paulo State, Brazil, given the fact
that it only exists in small populations inhabiting small forest patches.
One of these populations occurs in the Pontal do Paranapanema
Region, located in the extreme west of Sio Paulo State, Brazil.This
region includes Morro do Diabo State Park (35,000 ha), one of the
last remnants of Atlantic Forest of significant size, Black-Lion-Tamarin
Ecological Station (-12,000 ha), and surrounding forest fragments.
This project aims to develop the Footprint Identification Technique

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


S' for lowland tapirs and use this tool
to estimate and monitor population
2006 ARC density over time. FIT is a non-inva-
sive, inexpensive wildlife monitoring
S technique. For the development of
the algorithm, digital photographs of
tapir footprints are taken and down-
b 'rl 1 u L loaded into a computer. Landmarks
are placed at anatomical references
points on the image. Software derives
more points, and measures distances
E and angles between all the points.
S'These measurements create a geo-
metric profile; statistical tools enable
individual tapirs (or clusters of a few animals) to be identified. Results
from this project will be extremely important for the long-term low-
land tapir monitoring program at the Pontal region.

Foraging Habitat Preferences,
Diet Composition, and Seed Dispersal of
the Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) in the
Interior Atlantic Forest of Paraguay

Miguel A. Morales,
COUNTRY: Paraguay
SPECIES: lowland tapir

ABSTRACT: The lowland tapir
(Tapirus terrestris) is considered
"vulnerable" at the regional level
and declining at the country level.
High rates of habitat destruction and
fragmentation, as well as poaching,
are the main threats to this species
in Paraguay. Although the species
has been the subject of numerous
studies throughout its geographic
range, no research on its ecology
has been conducted in Paraguay. The
purpose of this research is to study

Marketing Committee

By Gilia Angell

W e on the Web and Marketing Committees wanted
to announce the addition of a large amount of new
content on our site, and some exciting tapir-related
media events. You may have already read about them
in the website (
Here they are:

the foraging habitat preferences, diet composition, and the role of
lowland tapir as seed disperser in the Mbaracayu Forest Reserve.The
methodology includes three components: (I) information on foraging
preferences will be collected through direct observation of browsed
vegetation recorded along line-transects; (2) diet composition will be
assessed through fecal analysis; and (3) the seed dispersal role will
be studied comparing germination rates of seeds found in feces with
seeds collected elsewhere in the wild. We expect that the results of
this research will guide wildlife managers and policy-makers in imple-
menting effective conservation actions for this species.They will also
contribute directly to achieving the goals of the Tapir Specialist Group
(TSG) at the regional level.

Tapir Density and Habitat Use in
El Rey-Centinela Conservation Unit:
First Stage

Silvia Chalukian,
COUNTRY: Argentina
SPECIES: lowland tapir

Centinela Conservation
Unit, located in the mid-
Yungas region, includes
El Rey National Park and
many private lands that still
maintain a considerable
amount (about 380,000
ha) of continuous montane
forests, all of which have
been only slightly modified by humans. Basic ecological information
for landscape planning for tapir's long-term survival is urgent. This
strategic planning must be supported with basic ecological informa-
tion. Using non-invasive methods such as digital camera traps, track
analysis, transects and DNA through feces analysis, in different areas
of the Park and nearby lands, we will assess density and habitat use
by tapirs. This project is the first stage, which involves the assess-
ment of the species' presence and abundance in some sectors of the
Conservation Unit.

* Secured ownership of and will
now point our site to that URL. The domain will now redirect to

* Tapirs receive international media coverage:
o Baird's tapirs featured in both the Corcovado
National Park & Pantanal segments of USAs
Public Broadcast System (PBS) weekly nature
series "Wild Things".
o Tapirs nominated by National Geographic
photographer Joel Sartore to be considered
for next year's "Nature as Canon Sees It," the

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


monthly nature-themed Canon Camera ad fea-
tured in National Geographic magazine.
o Terra da Gente article by Brazilian journalist
Liana John published nationally in Brazil, with
supporting poster and web campaign
o October 31st publication of Jeffrey Masson's
book Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras,
featuring an entire chapter on tapirs, written
with help from TSG members
o Tapirs and a tapir character featured in new
Mel Gibson movie Apocalypto, slated for U.S.
theaters in December, 2006.
o Two children' books featuring tapirs were
published in 2006:
1. Sandrine Silhol's Le tapir terrestre,
available at
2. David McLiman's Gone Wild:
An Endangered Animal Alphabet showcases
the mountain tapir under the letter "T," and is
available at

* Tapir-related interviews: We are now featuring
interviews with Zoo Leon veterinarian Jesus
Barroso and curator Richard Sheffield about
their tapir Scooter's experiences working with Mel
Gibson's film production; and an interview with
former Costa Rican Minister for the Environment
Juan Carlos Rodriguez Echandi about his tapir
"run-in" in Corcovado National Park. Links to both
can be found on the homepage:

* We have launched an "About Tapirs" page on the
website, which showcase Stephen Nash's tapir
illustrations and text (some TBD) written by TSG
tapir experts. Juliana Rodriguez coordinated
bilingual content acquisition. Thanks to Manolo
Garcia, Keith Williams, Diego Lizcano and Juliana
Rodriguez for their help creating content for these

See the site for all downloads and additional informa-
tion, now at TAPIRS.ORG!

Gilia Angell
Coordinator,TSG Marketing Committee


"Save the Tapir" Campaign

Collects Funds for the TSG

By Brian Bovyer

"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that it was criti-
cal for a person to discover something in life which it
was worth dyingfor."

agree with Dr. King that everybody should find
something worth dying for, and I have found that
"something". In a recent visit to Costa Rica with my
family, I learned that the rainforest is disappearing at
an alarming rate. I never really realized this at home in
Ohio, because I wasn't there to witness the loss actually
happening. All of our rainforests are being destroyed
and not enough is being done to save them. This is
one issue I feel is worth "dying for", because if we don't
save the rainforest, our chances for survival are slim.
We all should get involved because of the resources the
rainforest supplies. Some resources include oxygen,
medicines, and the most diverse wildlife in the world. I
also think that not enough people sense the imminence
of this impending threat to our survival. What would it
look like if there weren't any forests where the Amazon
is right now? It would be barren land; a wasteland.
The Amazon Rainforest supplies more that 20% of the
world's oxygen by absorbing carbon dioxide. I hope
that we can save what is left, and that we can save the
rainforest not for us, but for everyone else.
There are many endangered species in our world,
and one of them is the Baird's Tapir. My family and
I stayed at Rafiki Safari Lodge near Santo Domingo,
Costa Rica, where the people there are biologists, vete-
rinarians and environmentalists who are trying to rein-
troduce this tapir species. The Baird's Tapir scatters
seeds and eats the low-lying vegetation that covers up
where young trees grow. The tapir is a very important
part to the re-growth of the rainforest, and without it
the rainforest there has a small chance of re-growth.
When we arrived back home, I thought for a while
on what I could do to help. I learned that small steps
make big statements, and so I organized a Save the
Tapir drive. My mom and I researched the "LIVEstrong"
type bracelets, and we also did a lot of research on the
tapir. We worked long and hard and we are able to start
helping to Save the Tapir by selling these bracelets at
school and public places. The proceeds will go to the
Tapir Specialist Group to reintroduce the tapirs to the

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


rainforest. I am excited knowing I can help save the
Based on knowledge, I believe that we need to take
a stand to save the rainforests. Our future generations
have a slim chance of surviving if there is no rainforest.
We need to get more people involved in this issue. I was
fortunate to go to Costa Rica and see it and understand
this urgency, but if the rainforest disappears, people
are not going to get the same chance. I believe rather
than allowing the problem to take control of us, we
must take control of the problem. In doing so we will

Brian's Advisory Group. Back row:Alex Royer,
Britanny Ramsey, Mr. Ronald Teunissen Van Manen,
Nathan Napolitano,Alexandra Stec. Front row:
Blake Gross, Brian Bovyer,Anita Salley. Missing from
picture: Lauren Smith.
PHOTO CREDIT: Vicki Henschen

help to preserve the rainforest for future generations
and ensure that there will always be clean air to brea-
the. Like Dr. King I will fight for what is right by staying
involved in conservation issues.
I am proud to know that the Save the Tapir drive
was a great success, and that we made US$ 450 for the
Tapir Specialist Group. This was a team effort by seve-
ral people; without the help of my advisory at Old Trail
School, this never would have been a success. The help
and support of the following friends was very impor-
tant: Mr. Teunissen, Blake Gross, Alexandra Stec,
Lauren Smith, Brittany Ramsey, Alex Royer, Nathan
Napolitano, and Anita Salley. Hopefully the success of
this project, and others like it, will bring a better future
for the tapirs.

Brian Bovyer
High school student,Texas, USA


Interview with Carlos Manuel

Rodriguez Echandi

By Jeffrey Flocken

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Echandi, the former Costa
Rican Minister of Environment and Energy and
highly acclaimed conservationist, recently left his post
to work for an international NGO.
This past April, just prior to his departure from
his government appointment, the Minister was sepa-
rated from a ranger patrol in Costa Rica's Corcovado
National Park and attacked by a tapir. After a harro-
wing two days wandering injured through the dense
forest, he was able to find his way out and was taken
by helicopter to a hospital where he was treated for
his injuries. IUCN Tapir Specialist Group member
Jeff Flocken had the opportunity to interview him
about tapirs and biodiversity conservation in Central

JF: Thank youfor giving me the opportunity to
ask you these questions Mr. Rodriguez. I'll start
right off with the one that is most important
- have you recovered from your ordeal in the

CR: Absolutely, I had a lot of minor cuts, an injured
hip and rib, and a couple of dozen ticks on my body.
But now I am doing great.

JF: Tapirs, though large wild animals, are
generally considered shy and non-threatening
to humans. Had you ever heard of any tapir
attacks prior to your incident?

CR: I remember as a child my grandfather tel-
ling his experiences as a hunter, and telling us
his grandchildren how many dogs he lost because
tapirs were extremely aggressive when chased by
hunting dogs. I also remember some tales of park
rangers about tapirs and about them being aggressi-
ve when chased or when they are with their young.

JF: What was your previous experience with

CR: I've seen quite a lot of wild tapirs in different
national parks in Costa Rica, because, even though I

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


am a lawyer, I did work a lot in the field as a volun-
teer and later as the Director of the National Parks
System. And yes they are extremely shy. Every time
I saw them, it was basically their hind parts as they
ran away into the forest. In the last eight years I
have seen a lot of tapirs of the Sirena Biological
Station in Corcovado National Park, where Charly
Foerster has been working with tapirs for many

Mr. Rodriguez
pilots a boat
during one
of the ranger
patrols that he
created to rid
Costa Rica's
National Parks
of poachers that
threaten endan-
gered wildlife,
including the
S. Baird's tapir.

years. His radio-collared tapirs are very tame and
I've taken people to visit the area and see the ani-
mals -- including a couple of Costa Rican Presidents
and my four year old son. And everybody gets very
excited by watching this incredible animal.

JF: Are there any details or comments you could
make on the incident in Corcovado?

CR: Let me tell you my story. I was visiting this
Park with a ranger patrol as my last visit to the
area as Minister. In this park we had a serious
poaching problem and for the last three years I per-
sonally got very involved in solving it. With a grant
from the Moore Foundation and support by The
Nature Conservancy, we hired 68 new rangers and
have been able to rid the park of poachers. We deci-
ded to patrol a remote area we call the "bajura" (the
lowlands) and planned to be in the forestforfour
or five days. On our first day we were walking a 14
km-long trail to base camp. While walking, I deci-
ded to move ahead of the rest of the group (around
12 park rangers) because I wanted to see some rare
Caracara birds, when all of a sudden I saw a tapir
right next to the trail. This tapir had a small calf,
probably two months old, which was limping. The
calf immediately attracted my attention and I got

off the trail to follow both of them into the dense
rainforest. The mother tapir noticed me following
them and never gave me a clear angle of her baby.
I was very interested to see why it was limping, but
again and again, the mother tapir never allowed
me a clear view. So I decided to run ahead of them
and hide behind a tree, waiting to see the calf as it
passed by, which was a big mistake!!!! Indeed, they
passed by me and I was able to see the calf very
well. The baby tapir had deep wounds in its back,
probably due to a jaguar attack. At that moment,
the mother tapir saw me and immediately char-
ged me. I turned around and ran, but in less than
5 meters she caught up with me. She pushed me
to the ground and began biting me. The first bite
was on my rubber boot and the next four bites were
to my backpack (which saved my life!). All along I
was playing dead, like an opossum, until Ifelt the
tapir was trying to bite me in the back of my neck.
At that moment, I ran on allfour limbs and jumped
into a dry rocky creek. I hit many rocks and fallen
branches and landed hard on one side of my body. I
lost consciousness and when I came to, probably an
hour later, I was walking in the forest very confused
and in a lot of pain. I remembered everything that
happened to me and realized that I was very lucky
to have survived, because this animal was furious
and her strength was incredible. I never saw her
again. No doubt my backpack saved my life.
I tried to return back to the trail but never found
it. The rangers never saw anything because they
were walking in the trail behind me when I left
them, and they continued their journey always
thinking that I was ahead of them. After failing to
find the trail, I realized that my only option was
walking my way through the forest out of the park.
So in a nutshell, I walked in extremely dense low-
lands tropical forest for three days (around 16 km)
until I made it to the coast, where helicopters and
many people were looking for me. During those
days I didn't have food, except for some crackers,
but otherwise I was very well equipped because my
plans were to spend five days in the jungle.

JF: Has the attack changed your personal view
of tapirs?

CR: Yes. First, I am very lucky to be alive, because
I know that had that animal bitten me, I probably
wouldn't have been able to walk out of the park.
Second, surviving an experience like this makes
me respect nature more and recognize the need to
redouble our efforts to conserve and protect it. And
finally, I developed a personal and particular inte-
rest in tapirs that I never had before.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


JF: What an incredible story. With your consi-
derable field and government experience, what
do you think are the greatest challenges to the
tapir's survival in Latin America?

CR: The biggest challengefor tapir survival in the
Neotropics is the level of poverty in communities in
tropical areas, and the lack of political stability in
the tapir range countries. This translates into diffi-
cult challengesfor long term conservation.

JF: On behalf of the IUCN Tapir Specialist
Group, thank you for your time and for your
willingness to discuss tapirs and conservation
in Latin America. I wish you great luck in your
new position -- both tapirs and people are lucky
to have you fighting for biodiversity conservati-

CR: One final request: now with this personal
experience, I want to be included in the Tapir
Specialist Group of IUCN!

JF: That should not be a problem. Thank you


Humans Attacked by a

Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) in

the Sierra de Agalta National

Park, Olancho, Honduras

By Nereyda Estrada

The tapir (Tapirus bairdii) is the largest mammal
that inhabits the Neotropical forests. In Honduras
this species is found mostly in the eastern portion of
the country and in some isolated cloud forests patches
elsewhere. One of these areas is the Sierra de Agalta
National Park (SANP), which encompasses 51,792
hectares of broadleaf and pine forests. A considerable
number of villages can also be found in the buffer zone
of this park, where people live mostly from subsistence
agriculture and extensive cattle grazing.
From November 2005 to June 2006 I conducted
a research about some aspects of the ecology of the

tapir in the SANP During one of the field trips I docu-
mented the attack by a tapir of two adult men from a
local village. I interviewed people that witnessed the
attack and I visited the Orthopedic Department at
the National Honduran Hospital (Hospital Escuela) in
Tegucigalpa, where one of the injured men was given
medical treatment.
The attack occurred the second week of January
2006, in the neighborhood of the village of Vallecito
de Rio Tinto, Olancho, located in the buffer zone of
the SANP The animal that perpetrated the attack
was a juvenile male tapir that weighed approximate-
ly 170 pounds (adult Baird's tapirs can weigh >250
According to eyewitnesses, a local farmer was wor-
king at a grazing field for cows when his dogs surroun-
ded the tapir in a small river nearby and the barking
attracted the man. The man approached the scene
and attacked the animal with a machete; the wounded
tapir in return attacked and bit the man's right arm.
He was brought immediately back to the village, from
where other men took off in search of the tapir. When
they found it bleeding in the small river, a 24 year old
man attacked the tapir with a machete but slipped and
fell in front of the animal, thus allowing the animal to
reach and bite his left arm. Finally, other men shot and
killed the tapir with a fire arm caliber 0.70. By the time

Figure I.
Farmer's left
forearm X-ray
after he was
bitten by a
Baird's tapir
(Tapirus bairdii),
in the Sierra de
Agalta National
Park, Olancho,
Honduras, 2006.

the animal was shot, he had received several wounds
from the machetes.
The second man that was bitten came to the
National Hospital (Hospital Escuela) in Tegucigalpa for
treatment. According to the doctors, Faustino Lainez
and Roger Dominguez, at the Orthopedic Department,
the man suffered a bite on the middle third of the
forearm that cut the tendons and caused an exposed
multiple fracture of both ulna and radius bones, bone
loss, and a severe tissue infection (Figure 1). In order
to reconstruct the arm, it was necessary to perform
several disinfections, a bone implant, and to set up a
platinum bolt and two platinum plates on both sides

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


of the forearm. The bone implant was taken from the
hip and the patient had to remain hospitalized for five
weeks. The Honduran Government paid approximately
US$ 40,000 for the medical treatment of this man.
Tapirs are normally shy animals that will avoid
humans and will rapidly flee when encountered by
people. Throughout Honduras tapirs are extremely
difficult to find and see in their natural habitat, unless
they are chased with hunting dogs, in which case the
dogs will corner and surround the tapir until the hun-
ter comes within shooting distance. Haddad et al.
(2005) report on a fatal attack caused by a lowland
tapir (Tapirus terrestris) in southeastern Brazil. In that
case, the man who was killed by the tapir provoked
the animal by grabbing and stabbing it. The tapir was
later found nearby, dead from the wounds inflicted by
the local farmers. To my knowledge, there is no other
documented or published case of tapirs attacking
humans in Honduras, although several hunters have
related to me how provoked tapirs have attacked and
killed their hunting dogs.
This event may motivate several reactions in the
people from the village of Vallecito. Farmers armed
only with machete (the great majority) will avoid trying
to kill a tapir, while men with firearms will shoot a

tapir on sight. A local hunter told me that a business-
man from the city of Catacamas, Olancho, had reques-
ted a tapir's calf and was willing to pay him up to US$
500. Usually, in order to get the calf, hunters have to
first kill the adult female. This hunter commented that
after the attack, he was no longer interested in this
kind of deals. On the other hand, there is a possibility
that hunters and their dogs will more often organize
tapir hunting expeditions that will now be positively
seen by the local villagers.
In the SANP as in most of the rest of the country,
deforestation and human population growth are sever-
ely reducing the tapir's habitat.

Nereyda Estrada M.Sc.
Proyecto Manejo Integrado de Recursos Naturales (USAID/MIRA)
Country Coordinator, Honduras,
IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)


Haddad, V, Assuncao, M. C., de Mello, R. C. and Duarte, M.
R.. 2005: Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, 2(16):


Population Dynamics and DNA Microsatellite Survey

in the Lowland Tapir

Benoit de Thoisy', Cecile Richard-Hansen2, Francois Catzeflis, Anne Lavergne4

TSG Member,Association Kwata, Cayenne, French Guiana.
Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage, Kourou, French Guiana
Laboratory of Paleontology, University of Montpellier, France.
Institute Pasteur de la Guyane, Cayenne, French Guiana


Located on the Eastern part of the Guianas shield,
French Guiana is an administrative unit of France,
covered by one of the largest remaining blocks of tropi-
cal rainforest, and with a very low rate of deforestation
(Whitmore, 1997). Despite a still favorable context, the
country suffers from lack of political interest in con-

servation of natural resources; for instance, only 3% of
the territory is classified as nature reserves. The region
also faces a dramatic increase of gold mining activities
(Hammond et al., 2006). Lastly, no hunting regulations
are in effect. Several large species of birds and mam-
mals are currently considered threatened, at least in
the northern part of the country where most human
populations are concentrated. In previous works, hun-
ting pressure was quantified in 4 sites in the north of

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


the country, and results showed that the observed har-
vests were beyond maximal thresholds for several large
primates species (de Thoisy et al., 2005) and for the
Lowland tapir (de Thoisy & Renoux, 2004).
We present the results of the first survey on mic-
rosatellite DNA polymorphism in the Lowland tapir,
Tapirus terrestris, from French Guiana. Molecular
approaches are gaining importance in species conser-
vation, since molecular markers can provide reliable
information on population dynamics, trends, and gene
flow between areas (for studies in Neotropical mam-
mals see Eizirik et al., 2001; Norton & Ashley, 2004;
Ruiz, 2005; for studies in Neotropical reptiles see de
Thoisy et al., 2006). Population genetics usefully com-
plement field ecological and classical methods, such
as surveys, assessment of habitats, and levels and
impacts of threats.

Material and Methods

DNA was extracted with the phenol-chloroform proce-
dure from tissue samples (n=37) collected in hunted
animals all over the country (Figure 1). Five oligonuc-
leotide primers developed for T. bairdii and T. terrest-
ris (Ashley & Norton, 2004) were used: Ttel5, Tte5,
Tba21, Tbal5, Tba23.

Figure I.
Location of
survey sites in
French Guiana.

Population structuring was investigated with a
Bayesian model-based clustering algorithm with
STRUCTURE v.2 (Pritchard et al., 2000). Genetic ana-
lyses were performed with GENEPOP v.3.4 (Raymond
& Rousset, 1995). Genetic polymorphism was measu-
red as observed number of alleles (A), observed

heterozygosity (Ho) and the heterozygosity expected
under Hardy-Weinberg proportions (He). Deviation
from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was tested using
Fisher's exact test for fit of genotype proportion (Guo &
Thompson, 1992) with the alternative hypothesis H =
heterozygote deficiency. The genetic structure of popu-
lations was examined by use of Fis and Fst (Weir &
Cockerham, 1984). The significance of Fst was deter-
mined by a log-likelihood G-based test (Goudet et al.,
1996). Presence of bottlenecks was investigated with
the probability of heterozygote excess with a Wilcoxon
test, and qualitatively by the shape of the distribution of
pairwise differences in repeat numbers among all alle-
les at each locus, averaged across loci (BOTTLENECK
1.2.02, Cornuet & Luikart, 1996). The interlocus g-test
and the Pk distribution method were used to evaluate
the hypothesis of population expansion.


The Bayesian model demonstrated with a high proba-
bility (p = 0.94) that the animals came from one single
ancestral cluster. Further, the between-sample variation
of alleles indicates no differentiation between northern
and southern samples (Fst = -0.0014, p = 0.64 Table
1), suggesting a single panmictic population. The allelic
diversity in our sample ranged from 5 to 12, with high
observed and expected heterozygosities (0.76 and 0.78
- respectively); the population is at Hardy-Weinberg
equilibrium (Fis = 0.03, p = 0.95). This feature was
confirmed by significant heterozygote excess (Wilcoxon
test: p=0.03), which revealed a bottleneck estimated
to have occurred 15-25 generations ago. In contrast,
the second test, the loci pair-wise difference, showing
a normal L-shape distribution, was not significant and
suggests that this bottleneck was not severe. Lastly,
both the interlocus-g test and the pK distribution
revealed that the population is not expanding.

Table I.Average alleles/locus (A), expected (He) and
observed (Ho) levels of heterozygosity and inbreeding
coefficient (f).

Population (n) (A) He Ho f(Fis) / P-value
French Guiana (37) 8.00 0.78 0.76 0.03 /0.95

Costa Rica* (15) 2.50 0.37 0.39 -0.06 /0.69
Panama* (15) 3.30 0.43 0.41 0.03/ P>0.05

* in Tapirus bairdii, Norton &Ashley 2004.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


and Conclusions

Gene diversity and heterozygocity values recorded in
the French Guianan population of T. terrestris are com-
parable to those recorded in other healthy populations
of large mammals, and higher than those recorded in
fragmented populations of T. bairdii (Norton & Ashley,
2004) (Table 1). But the limited evidence of a rather
recent bottleneck may nevertheless suggest a weake-
ned population. These data represent our preliminary
results on assessment of densities, showing reduced
abundances in the northern part of the country, where
threats to both the tapir and its forest habitats are hig-
her (B. de Thoisy, unpub data). Also, the monitoring of
game harvest showed, on the base of analysis of skulls,
that almost 75 % of animals killed in this region were
not adult (C. Richard-Hansen, unpub. data). Current
pressures, including unmanaged hunting, the possibi-
lity to commercially market tapir meat, and the cryptic
but nevertheless widespread hunting by gold miners,
may have dramatic short-term consequences on tapirs
in French Guiana.
The identification of a single population in
French Guiana has nevertheless important conserva-
tion implications. Indeed, absence of structure in the
genetic sample allows for a wide range of management
options for the species, such as hunting periods and
quotas. Large protected areas must also play a major
role as hunting refugia for species management; i.e. the
possibility that hunted areas may be adjacent to areas
free of harvest. The latter could act as efficient sour-
ces for re-colonization, and may facilitate population
recovery, as along with efficient conservation measures
undertaken in hunted areas.


The study was funded by the Association Kwata, and
made possible with the logistic help of the Institut
Pasteur de la Guyane.

Literature Cited

Cornuet, J.M., Luikart, G., 1996. Description and power
analysis of two tests for detecting recent population
bottlenecks from allele frequency data. Genetics 144:
Eizirik E., Kim J.H., Menotti-Raymond M., Crawshaw R,
O'Brien S.J., Johnson W 2001. Phylogeography, popu-
lation history and conservation genetics of jaguars
(Panthera onca, Mammalia, Felidae). Molecular Ecology
10: 65-79.

Goudet, J., 1999. FSTAT, a program to estimate and test
gene diversities and fixation indices, version 2.8.
Goudet, J., Raymond, M., De Meeiis T, Rousset, F., 1996.
Testing differentiation in diploid populations. Genetics
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Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Evaluaci6n del Habitat

para la Danta Centroamericana (Tapirus bairdii)

en la Zona Norte de Costa Rica

Olivier Chassot, Guisselle Monge Arias & Vladimir Jim6nez

Centro Cientifico Tropical / Corredor Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva
Apartado 8-3870-1000 San Jose, Costa Rica, E-mail:


Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) survives in the
San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor, a mosaic
of fragmented forest habitats that maintain the eco-
logical connectivity between the lowland rain forest
ecosystem of Southeastern Nicaragua and Northern
Costa Rica with Costa Rican montane forests. This
corridor totals more than one million hectares of
protected areas in different degrees of conservation.
Evidence of tapir presence in the corridor has been
observed during the last eight years, but the status
of this species in the area remains largely unknown,
leading us to conduct a habitat viability assessment
based on our knowledge of the area and on infor-
mation about Baird's Tapir in similar ecosystems.
We used GIS data, measuring seven ecological para-
meters that allowed us to characterize the availabi-
lity of habitat for Baird's Tapir in the San Juan-La
Selva Biological Corridor. We estimated the number
of tapirs to range from 69 to 208 individuals. Our
methods exemplify an inexpensive means to assess
Tapir's habitat viability where there is substantial
and reliable georeferenced data about the ecosys-
tems present in the study area.


El Corredor Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva (CBSS), en la
Zona Norte de Costa Rica, alberga el ultimo habitat de
conexi6n viable que permit mantener la continuidad
del Corredor Biol6gico Mesoamericano* entire Nicaragua
y Costa Rica, garantizando la conectividad ecol6gica y
la viabilidad de una biodiversidad regional inica -
un bosque biol6gicamente divers, dominado por el
almendro (Dipteryx panamensis). Esta region, entire
el Rio San Juan y la vertiente norte de la Cordillera
Volcanica Central, contiene varias species en peligro
de extinci6n, incluyendo la danta centroamericana
(Tapirus bairdii), la lapa verde (Ara ambigua), el jagu-
ar (Panthera onca), el pez gaspar (Atractosteus tropi-

cus) y el manati (Trichechus manatus). En la region
actualmente se desarrolla una iniciativa integral para
implementar el Corredor Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva
y su area nucleo, el Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre
Mixto Maquenque, con el fin de conservar un mosai-
co de habitats boscosos amenazados y establecer un
mayor enlace del Corredor Biol6gico Mesoamericano,
a nivel national, binacional y regional.

Ubicaci6n Geografica
del Corredor Biol6gico

El Corredor se ubica al norte de las provincias de
Heredia y Alajuela, abarcando parte de los cantones
de Sarapiqui y San Carlos. La superficie del Corredor
Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva es de 246.608 hectareas
y pertenece a la Cuenca del Rio San Juan.
La raz6n principal por la cual planteamos la
creaci6n del Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre
Mixto Maquenque es porque 6ste contiene los unicos

Fotografia I. Habitat de alto potential de uso para la
danta (Tapirus bairdii) en el Corredor Biol6gico San
Juan La Selva.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006



CMrqu du An n pi gr Nm.

FWAA Loa b ci.. pvw QW kC4h p

~a~a .kaM6 ~ I k
c~ TIP.u ~iY

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.4.0 .. b..P

bosques primaries remanentes de gran extension en
la Zona Norte, dentro de ecosistemas que no tienen
representaci6n en ningun otro sitio (Figura 3). Estos
bosques pertenecen principalmente a la zona de vida
de bosque tropical muy humedo (Holdridge, 1967); los
mismos han ido desapareciendo a un ritmo acelerado
en la Zona Norte, y en el present persisten tan s61o
en unos cuantos fragments ubicados en El Jardin, La
Curefia y Chaparr6n.
Los bosques primaries remanentes representatives
de la region suelen presentar altos indices de
biodiversidad, como se describe mis adelante. Es
necesario destacar que la region no solamente es
important por el numero de species sino porque se
encuentran varias species amenazadas o en peligro de
extinci6n. Existen poblaciones de arboles de almendro
de montafia (Dipteryx panamensis), titor (Sachoglottis
trichogyna), pinillo (Podocarpus guatemalensis)
y jicaro (Lecythis ampla). Por otro lado, es poco
comfin ver humedales de bajura yuxtapuestos con
montafias cercanas; gradientes altitudinales en cortas
distancias como 6ste frecuentemente son muy ricos
en biodiversidad. Hist6ricamente, este duo pantanos-
bosques de montafia estuvo present en toda la zona
norte; sin embargo, hoy s61o persiste en la extension
del propuesto Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto
El Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto
Maquenque contiene un complejo de humedales
asociados a la cuenca baja del Rio San Juan: Humedal
de Tamborcito, Tambor, Maquenque, Remolino

Grande y Colpachi, con vegetaci6n muy caracteristica
localizada a orillas de cuerpos de agua, humedales
lacustrinos con cienagas y marismas, y yolillales o
areas con dominancia de yolillo (Raphia taedigera).
El area de los humedales represent un porcentaje alto
del area total del refugio.

Diversidad Biol6gica

La diversidad biol6gica present en el Corredor
Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva es excepcionalmente
alta, reflejo de la situaci6n biogeografica general de
Centroamerica y a consecuencia de cambios altitu-
dinales abruptos, entire 30 y 3.000 msnm; diferentes
regimenes de precipitaci6n y variaciones en los tipos
de suelos. Posiblemente, San Juan-La Selva sea el
corredor con mayor diversidad floristica en Costa
Rica, hospedando mis de 6,000 species de plants
vasculares, con un numero significativo de end6micos.
Hartshorn y Hammel (1996) reportaron que un 45% de
las species en seis families de plants (Cyclanthaceae,
Marantaceae, Cecropiaceae, Clusiaceae, Lauraceae y
Moraceae) eran end6micas de Centroam6rica y estima-
ron que un 10% de la flora caribefia costarricense es
end6mica del pais, una tasa mas alta que la encontra-
da en la mayoria de las regions templadas (Gentry,

La fauna del Corredor Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva
tambi6n reflej a la transici6n entire las zonas Neotropical

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006

Figura I. Ubicaci6n del
Corredor Biol6gico
San Juan La Selva.

El Corredor Biol6gico
Mesoamericano es un esfuerzo
de conservaci6n conjunto
de todos los pauses en
Centroamerica; establecido
oficialmente en 1997 por
los Jefes de Estado; tiene
como objetivo promover
la protecci6n de areas
estrategicamente ubicadas,
de manera de asegurar la
interconexi6n del Sistema
Centroamericano de Areas
Protegidas (SICAP) con zonas
aledahas de amortiguamiento
y uso multiple, y permitir el
movimiento de species que
requieren grandes areas de
acci6n, tales como la danta.


[ U I

Figura 2. Uso potential de habitats para la danta (Tapirus
bairdii) en el Corredor Biol6gico San Juan La Selva.

y Nedrtica (OEA/PNUMA, 1997); alberga 139 species
de mamiferos, 515 aves, 135 reptiles y 80 anfibios.
En comparaci6n, la ecorregi6n terrestre prioritaria de
Mesoam6rica definida por Conservaci6n Internacional
alberga un total de 1,193 aves (Mittermeier et al.,
1999), de las cuales un 43% se encuentra present
en el Corredor Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva. La flora
vascular y la fauna de vertebrados son eclipsadas por
la riqueza de species de invertebrados. La fauna de
Lepidoptera reportada en la Estaci6n Biol6gica La
Selva excede 6,000 species (De Vries, 1994).

Uso de Habitat de la Danta

La danta centroamericana (Tapirus bairdii) vive en
bosques humedos, bosques secos, bosques secunda-
rios viejos, y yolillales. Por lo tanto, ha de estar presen-
te en el Corredor Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva donde
haya cobertura forestal, humedales y una combinaci6n
de yolillales y pantanos herbiceos. Se alimenta de fol-
laje y semillas de una gran variedad de plants, raz6n
por la cual se consider un buen dispersor de semillas
que contribute a la regeneraci6n de bosques (Naranjo,
1995b). Segin Matola et al., (1997), esta especie es
mis abundante en areas de dificil acceso. La danta

5. 00MO -**M *A40 ~A--& *%

Fotografia 2. Habitat de alto potential de uso para la
danta (Tapirus bairdii) en el Corredor Biol6gico San
Juan La Selva.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006

muestra preferencia por las frutas de "yolillo", las cua-
les se traga entera.
Las densidades de danta centroamericana se
han estimado entire 0.22 individuo / km2 (Lacandon,
Chiapas, M6xico, Naranjo & Bodmer, 2002), y 1.60
individuo / km2 (Parque Nacional Corcovado, Costa
Rica, Foerster, 2002). Se ha observado una preferencia
de la especie por paisajes con fragments importan-
tes de bosque de bajura intervenido y bosque secun-
dario, con claros naturales o provocados por el ser
human (Foerster & Vaughan, 2002), combinaciones
de humedales, cuerpos de agua permanent (Matola
et al., 1997; Naranjo & Bodmer, 2002), quebradas
y caiios, yolillales y pantanos herbiceos, y bosque
ripario (Naranjo, 1995a) o con pendientes suaves
(Tobler, 2002). Ademas, se ha estimado que el rango
hogarefio de la danta centroamericana puede medir de
125 hectareas (Foerster & Vaughan, 2002) hasta 136
hectareas (Parque Nacional Corcovado, Costa Rica,
Foerster, 2002), y que la danta centroamericana puede
desplazarse grandes distancias en busqueda de un
nuevo rango hogarefio (Parque Nacional Corcovado,
Costa Rica, Foerster, 1998). Al menos hay un report
en la literature de una zona de exclusion de al menos
290 metros alrededor de centros de poblaci6n humana
(Flesher & Ley, 1996).

Analisis Geo-Espacial del Habitat
Potencial de la Danta Centroamericana
en el CBSS

Con el prop6sito de crear un mapa que resalte el
habitat potential de la danta centroamericana en el
Corredor Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva, realizamos un

U POP14"d
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Pkh~i wm~e


analisis geo-espacial mediante el cual se combinaron
diferentes parimetros ecol6gicos preferidos por este

1. Fragmentos de cobertura forestal (bosque
primario, bosque secundario, charral, tacotal)
2. Lagunas y espejos de agua
3. Humedales
4. Red hidrogrifica
5. Pendientes del terreno

Ademis se consideraron otras coberturas que impli-
can un factor de exclusion por afectar direct y negati-
vamente a poblaciones de danta, incluyendo:

1. Poblados
2. Carreteras y caminos asfaltados o lastrados

Para la cobertura forestal, se emple6 el mapa de
cobertura de uso del suelo del 2000, del Instituto
Meteorol6gico Nacional Ministerio del Ambiente y
Energia (IMN-MINAE), analizando imagenes de sat6lite
a escala 1:50,000 de las cuales excluimos previamen-
te todos los usos agropecuarios para trabajar con los
fragments de uso forestal o en process de forestaci6n.
La cobertura de bosques fue preclasificada de acuerdo
a la Tabla 1.

Tabla I: Categorizaci6n
forestal en el CBSS.

de los datos de cobertura

Area del fragment Calificaci6n
de bosque para el hAbitat Pu
< 125 ha Deficiente 1
> 125 ha a < 136 ha Adecuado 2
> 136 ha Excelente 3

Para las capas de datos geo-espaciales referidas a las
lagunas y espejos de agua, utilizamos las hojas car-
togrificas del Instituto Geografico Nacional (IGN) de
Costa Rica, escala 1:50,000, de las cuales extrajimos
las lagunas permanentes e intermitentes, asi como
las Areas anegadas en todo el CBSS. Debido a que la
danta centroamericana prefiere ambientes con fuentes
de agua, a estas Areas se les asignaron tres Areas de
amortiguamiento con un ancho de 100 metros cada
una, las areas mas cercanas a las lagunas presentan-
do mayor probabilidad de que exista una danta y las
Areas mis alejadas menor probabilidad. La cobertura
de lagunas fue preclasificada de acuerdo a la Tabla 2.
Por otra parte, tomando en cuenta la afinidad de la
danta por los ambientes semiacuaticos, utilizamos la
capa de informaci6n del mapa de humedales identifi-
cados por la UICN dentro del CBSS.

Tabla 2: Categorizaci6n de los datos de cobertura
de lagunas en el CBSS.

Calificaci6n Pt
Area del segment l fiian Puntaje
del hAbitat
Laguna Excelente 3
Area de 1 a 100 m Excelente 3
Area de 101 a 200 m Adecuado 2
Area de 201 a 300 m Adecuado 1

Al igual que en el caso anterior, tomamos como cri-
terio que la danta prefiere ambientes con alto grado
de humedad (tierras anegadas); a estos habitats se les
generaron tres Areas con un ancho de 100 metros, las
areas mis cercanas a los humedales consideradas con
mayor probabilidad de que exista una danta y las Areas
mis externas con menor probabilidad.
La cobertura de humedales fue preclasificada de
acuerdo a la Tabla 3.

Tabla 3: Categorizaci6n de los datos de cobertura
de humedales UICN en el CBSS.

Area del segment Calificacion Puntaje
para el hAbitat
Humedal Excelente 3
Area de 1 a100 m Excelente 3
Area de 101 a 200 m Adecuado 2
Area de 201 a 300 m Adecuado 1

Alrededor de todos los cauces de rios, quebradas y
caflos, se generaron tres Areas con un ancho de 40
metros entire cada una, los espacios del cauce y las
Areas mis cercanas con mayor probabilidad de que
existe una danta y las Areas mis externas con menor
probabilidad, de acuerdo a la Tabla 4.

Tabla 4: Categorizaci6n de los datos de red hidrica
en el CBSS.

Area del segment Calificacin Puntaje
r g para el hAbitat
Rios, quebradas y caios Excelente 3
Anillo de 1 a 40 m Excelente 3
Anillo de 41 a 80 m Adecuado 2
Anillo de 81 a 120 m Adecuado 1

Debido a que la presencia de la danta se ve limita-
da por la densidad de la actividad humana, se gener6

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


un Area de exclusion de 300 metros alrededor de cada
poblado dentro del CBSS. Por lo general, las Areas de
asentamientos humans se encuentran desprovistos
de cobertura forestal por lo que la exclusion de zonas
con bosque debido a la proximidad de poblados son
muy pocos. Para esta cobertura se emplearon las
hojas cartogrificas del IGN de Costa Rica y el trabajo
de campo realizado durante la fase de diagn6stico del
Plan de Manejo del Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre
Mixto (RNVSM) Maquenque.
La red vial es otro factor limitante, especialmente
en zonas de alto trAnsito; sin embargo, estas zonas
son las que se encuentran mis alteradas, por lo que
dificilmente podemos encontrar nucleos de bosque. En
el caso inverso, los caminos de tierra dentro de zonas
boscosas son empleados s61o por periods muy cortos
y con poca frecuencia, por lo que la via en si no consti-
tuye una fuerte limitante de peso, y a menudo se obser-
van huellas de danta. Para esta cobertura se emplearon
las hojas cartogrificas del IGN de Costa Rica y el tra-
bajo de campo realizado por CEDARENA y los autores
para el Plan de Manejo del RNVSM Maquenque, en la
region norte del CBSS. Para toda la red de caminos
se generaliz6 un Area de 10 metros desde el camino
hacia ambos lados, considerando que es este ancho de
20 metros es poco probable localizar una danta (este
indice se aplica principalmente dentro de las Areas
boscosas del corredor).
El grado de pendiente del terreno suele constituir
tambi6n cierta limitante para el libre desplazamiento
o el establecimiento del rango hogarefio de la danta,
raz6n por la cual utilizamos el Mapa de Capacidad
de Uso de las Tierras Forestales de Costa Rica elabo-
rado por el Centro Cientifico Tropical y la Fundaci6n
Neotropica, escala 1:50,000, en el cual se presentan
los ranges de inclinaci6n del terreno segun los porcen-
tajes de pendientes. En este caso se clasificaron las
pendientes segun los ranges de inclinaci6n, como se
indica en la Tabla 5.

Tabla 5: Categorizaci6n de
pendiente en el CBSS.

los datos de grado de

Area por grado Calificaci6n Pu
de pendiente para el hAbitat
Piano a 15% Excelente 3
16% a 30% Adecuado 2
> 31% Deficiente 1

Al tener los anteriores siete parametros de valorizaci6n
para determinar las Areas potenciales para el hAbitat
de la danta centroamericana, procedimos a realizar
una uni6n de las coberturas en un mismo mapa. En
este product cartografico se sumaron los diferentes

valores que presentaban los criterios establecidos, con
el fin de alcanzar los valores totales para toda el Area
del corredor determinando tres categories de uso de
habitat por este mamifero.
El valor maximo obtenido de la sumatoria de valo-
res de cada parametro fue de 16 puntos, evidenciando
sitios principalmente cercanos a las zonas con lagunas,
rodeados de bosque, con presencia de flujos de agua y
dentro de zonas consideradas como humedales.
Aunque la cobertura de pendientes se extiende por
toda la parte norte del corredor en valores que corres-
ponden a grades de pendiente de 0 a 15%, aquellas que
no contienen fragments de bosque de los tamafios
requeridos fueron excluidas.
La Tabla 6 present la zonificaci6n del habitat
potential de la danta dentro del CBSS, segun los pard-
metros antes mencionados.

Tabla 6: Clasificaci6n del uso potential de habitat
para la danta en el CBSS.

Clasificaci6n del las zonas Area en ha Porcentaje %
Zonas de potential alto 2.438,0 1
Zonas de potential median 52.328,3 21
Zonas de potential bajo 75.255,6 30
Zonas excluidas 117.777,0 48
Total 247.798,9 100

De los resultados anteriormente presentados, se
deduce que el Corredor Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva
ofrece un total de 130.022 hectAreas o 130 km2 de
terreno con potential para mantener o aumentar la
actual poblaci6n de danta. Utilizando los studios de
telemetria sobre la densidad poblacional de la danta
centroamericana en bosque hfumedo en Barro del
Colorado Panama, (Glanz, citado por Naranjo, 1995a)
y en el Parque Nacional Corcovado, Costa Rica, (Valdez
& Foerster, 2004; Foerster, 2002), pensamos que el
estimado mis conservador de la densidad poblacional
de la danta en el Corredor Biol6gico San Juan-La Selva
podria ser de 0.53 individuos / km2, para un total de
69. El estimado mis optimista podria ser de 1.60 indi-
viduos / km2, para un total de 208 dantas.

Observaciones sobre el
Analisis Geo-Espacial

El andlisis evidencia que existen muchos fragmen-
tos pequefios de bosque que estan por debajo de las
necesidades minimas de la danta centroamericana en
relaci6n a su rango hogarefio. Los fragments de gran

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


tamafio en algunos sectors se encuentran disminui-
dos por corredores de poco grosor que pueden limitar
el paso permanent de estos animals. Se observa que
las areas de mayor importancia para el habitat de la
danta se encuentran en los sitios con fuentes de agua
permanentes o intermitentes (lagunas, rios, quebradas
y/o humedales). Sera necesario realizar un studio
detallado del area del corredor con el fin de ubicar las
areas con humedales que no aparecen registradas en
las hojas cartograficas. El present andlisis esta basa-
do en la informaci6n extraida de diferentes mapas y
coberturas de datos dentro del Corredor Biol6gico San
Juan-La Selva y represent zonas hipot6ticas, por lo
que se deberia de realizar una contraparte de trabajo
de campo para contrastar la hip6tesis planteada en la
Figura 3 acerca de las zonas preferidas por la danta.

Planes de Manejo

El Comit6 Ejecutivo del Corredor Biol6gico San
Juan-La Selva propone metas de protecci6n basadas
en gran parte en los resultados de la investigaci6n
biol6gica sobre el uso del habitat por la lapa verde,
una especie que habitat los bosques de almendro de
Am6rica Central, usa extensos ranges hogarefios y
conduce migraciones estacionales desde las bajuras
hacia bosques mas elevados conectados con su habitat
reproductive. De afinarse, la definici6n de zonas
de habitat potential para la danta centroamericana
pueden contribuir a definir zonas prioritarias para
la conservaci6n dentro del Refugio Nacional de Vida
Silvestre Mixto Maquenque (59,717 hectareas).
El present andlisis constitute un m6todo facil,
rapido y poco costoso para evaluar el potential de
habitat para la danta centroamericana en otras areas
geograficas de su rango de distribuci6n que presentan
caracteristicas biofisicas similares.


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and Floristic Patterns, in Mc Dade, L., Bawa, K.,
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the Cordillera de Talamanca, Costa Rica, Biotropica
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Symposium. Conference Report, Panama.

Assessing the Sustainability of Baird's Tapir Hunting

in the Bosawas Reserve, Nicaragua

Jeremy M. Koster

Department of Anthropology, 409 Carpenter Building, University Park, PA 16802


In many locales throughout its range, the Baird's
tapir is a preferred game species for subsistence
hunters. I review research on Baird's tapirs and
use the methods of Robinson and Redford's (1991)
production model to present MSY estimates based
on three diverse density estimates. These estimates
are used to assess the sustainability of tapir hunting
in Nicaragua's Bosawas Reserve. The assessment
indicates that tapirs are harvested unsustainably in
the core hunting zone around two indigenous com-
munities. The immigration of tapirs from unexplo-
ited areas upstream of the communities appears to
explain their continued existence in the hunting
zone. I discuss efforts to protect this species, and I
describe some of the challenges to the conservation
of tapirs in the reserve.


Tapirs are hunted throughout much of their range in
the Neotropics. Despite the infrequency of kills, their
large size ensures that they comprise a large percen-
tage of the hunted biomass in many settings. In gene-
ral, tapirs trail only peccaries in their contribution of
hunted biomass to Neotropical diets (Vickers 1984).
Among other factors, the increased influx of firearms
into once isolated settlements poses a threat to tapir
populations, as Yost and Kelley (1983:215) report that

Waorani hunters prefer shotguns to traditional wea-
pons when hunting tapirs.
Because of their endangered status and vulnera-
bility to habitat loss and over-hunting, tapirs have
received considerable attention from conservationists.
Interestingly, whereas the production model of Robinson
and Redford (1991) allows Amazonian researchers to
assess the sustainability of lowland tapir (Tapirus ter-
restris) harvests, similar figures are lacking for Baird's
tapir (Tapirus bairdii). Given that Baird's tapirs are
hunted in many of the locations where they survive in
Central America and Mexico (Fragoso 1991; Naranjo
and Cruz 1998; Smith 2005; cf. Jorgenson 2000),
an estimate of the maximum sustainable yield (MSY)
might prove useful for management decisions related
to this species. Using the methods of Robinson and
Redford's production model (1991), I surveyed the lite-
rature to find estimates of Baird's tapir reproduction
and densities, with which I generated MSY estimates.
I then compare these estimates to the harvest of tapirs
that I observed during a yearlong project in Nicaragua's
Bosawas Biosphere Reserve.

The Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY)

Researchers have used the production model of
Robinson and Redford (1991) to assess the sustaina-
bility of hunting in a number of Neotropical settings
(Alvard et al. 1997; Leeuwenberg and Robinson 2000;

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Townsend 2000). Although it is widely applicable, the
model is not without its weaknesses, many of which
were noted by the authors themselves (Robinson and
Redford 1994). The model has the advantage of gene-
rality, but given its limitations, the authors emphasize
that the model can be used only to demonstrate that a
harvest is unsustainable; the opposite is not true, as
the model cannot demonstrate that an observed har-
vest is sustainable (Robinson and Redford 1994:255).
Like Robinson and Redford (1986a), I reviewed the
literature for reproductive data. There are relatively
few publications on Baird's tapir reproduction, howe-
ver, and Brown et al. (1994) provide some of the only
data available on captive Baird's tapirs. Fortunately,
these data suggest that the reproductive characteri-
stics of Baird's tapir are comparable to those of the
lowland tapir. For the lowland tapir, Robinson and
Redford (1986a) list 3.7 and 23.5 as the ages of first
and last reproduction and 0.38 as the annual birth
rate of female offspring. These figures differ little from
estimates drawn from observations of captive Baird's
tapirs (Janine Brown, personal communication, June
23, 2006). The maximum finite rate of natural incre-
ase () in the Robinson and Redford model) would
therefore be identical for the two species: 1.22.
Calculation of the maximum sustainable yield
also requires a density estimate for the population.
Because density estimates from observational studies
are often unreliable, Robinson and Redford (1991:418)
typically use predicted densities from their review of
the allometric relationship between population density,
body size, and diet (Robinson and Redford 1986b).
The body mass that the authors cite for Baird's tapir
is 300 kg, more than twice the value cited for the low-
land tapir (Robinson and Redford 1986b). Assuming
a body mass of 300 kg for Baird's tapir, the regressi-
on equation used by Robinson and Redford (1986b)
for frugivore-herbivores yields a predicted density of
0.66 individuals/km2. However, a body mass of 300
kg typically represents the highest mass in the range
of estimates for this species, with some authors giving
a range of estimates that includes values below 200 kg
(Emmons 1990; Reid 1997). Substituting a body mass
estimate of 200 kg in the same regression equation
gives a predicted density of 0.94 individuals/km2.
To some extent, the former estimate of 0.66
individuals/km2 is comparable to estimates based
on observational studies, many of which are cited by
Brooks et al. (1997). In particular, this estimate is
similar to the density estimate of 0.6 individuals/km2
cited by Naranjo (1995) for Corcovado National Park
in Costa Rica. However, many density estimates for
Baird's tapir are much lower. For example, Naranjo and
Bodmer (2002) cite estimates of 0.24 individuals/km2
in slightly hunted areas and only 0.05 individuals/km2
in persistently hunted areas in Mexico. By contrast,

one of the highest estimates in the literature also comes
from Corcovado National Park, as Foerster (2002)
reports an average density of 1.6 adult individuals/km2
during his multi-year study. It is important to note
that Foerster's methods, which include direct measu-
rements of radio-collared animals, represent the most
rigorous attempt to document the density of a Baird's
tapir population.
Given this variability in density estimates for
Baird's tapir populations, it is difficult to advocate
a single value as the basis for the MSY estimate. By
using predicted values or an average of density esti-
mates, it is possible to generate an MSY estimate that
would not be sustainable in settings where the den-
sity is unexpectedly low (Peres 2000). This problem
highlights the need for long-term studies to determine
population density and dynamics for proper estimati-
on of the MSY for this endangered species in settings
throughout Central America. Because such long-term
research is not always possible, however, an alternative
approach would be to generate a range of MSY estima-
tes, which should be applied conservatively when the
actual density of tapirs remains in doubt. Accordingly,
I present separate MSY estimates for three of the den-
sity estimates cited above.

The Study Area

First created in 1991 as a "natural reserve," the
Bosawas Biosphere Reserve is located in north-central
Nicaragua. Part of the largest tract of tropical rain
forest north of Amazonia (Stocks 1996), the reserve is
inhabited by a number of generally endangered species,
including jaguars (Panthera onca), spider monkeys
(Ateles geoffroyi), giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tri-
dactyla), and white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari).
The reserve is also inhabited by the Mayangna and
Miskito, the two most populous indigenous groups in
Nicaragua. In 2005, after a decade of cooperative work
with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the indigenous
communities in the reserve were granted legal land title
by the Nicaraguan government. The reserve is divided
into six territories, which were delineated and mapped
as part of the TNC effort to document the indigenous
land claims (Stocks 2003). My research was based in
two communities along the Lakus River in the territory
of Kipla Sait Tasbaika (Figure 1). Specifically, I worked
in Arang Dak and Suma Pipi, two communities with
a combined population of about 260-265 individuals.
Elevations within five kilometers of the communities
range from about 150 to 400 meters. There are no per-
manent settlements upstream of Arang Dak, and the
headwaters of the Lakus River watershed are largely
unexploited by residents of the reserve.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Like most Neotropical horticulturalists, the
Mayangna and Miskito rely on agricultural products for
the bulk of their diet. Staple crops include bananas,
manioc, rice, corn, and beans. Along with meat from
domestic animals, especially pigs, fish and hunted
game provide much of their dietary protein. Rifles and
dogs are the principal hunting technologies, and adult
men do most of the hunting. Although men sometimes
leave on intentional hunting trips into the forest, many
of the animals in the harvest are acquired opportunis-
tically in the course of other subsistence activities. In
the reserve, tapirs are notorious for raiding bean fields,
and a farmer who notices signs of tapirs in his beans
might visit the field at night with a rifle in an attempt
to encounter and kill the animal. On intentional hun-
ting trips, hunters simultaneously search for a broad
suite of prey types, but they sometimes make a point of
visiting boggy sites where tapirs are known to rest on
occasion during the day.

Nicaragua s

Figure I. The location of Kipla SaitTasbaika within
Nicaragua and the location ofArang Dak and Suma Pipi
within the territory.


Fieldwork in Bosawas lasted approximately 13
months, from August 2004 to September 2005. As
part of a project on subsistence strategies, I employed
indigenous research assistants to document the acqui-
sition of game animals. An assistant remained in the
community during daylight hours to administer ques-
tionnaires to hunters as they returned with game. The
assistants also carried scales and weighed the animals
whenever possible. The hunting questionnaire inclu-
ded data on time expenditure, participants, the techno-
logies brought by each participant, the names of dogs
on the outing, and other factors. Following Smith's
(2003) methodology, the assistants also drew sketch
maps of the kill sites in relation to known landmarks
such as fields, trails, and streams. These kill sites were
later entered into a Geographic Information System
(GIS), as were landmarks that research assistants
and I collected with a Global Positioning System (GPS)
receiver. Household food consumption forms, which
were completed daily, revealed game animals that were
not initially reported to the assistants. Kills of tapirs
attract considerable attention upon the hunter's return
to the community, however, and I am confident that
no tapir kills went undocumented during the yearlong
study period.
An important component in sustainability estima-
tes is the size of the hunting zone (Alvard et al. 1997:
979). Although men sometimes hunt while far from
the community on multi-day excursions, most of the
hunting on daylong expeditions occurs within a few
kilometers of Arang Dak and Suma Pipi. I estimated
the size of this core hunting zone by creating a polygon
that included all kill sites from daylong hunting trips,
with a 500 meter buffer on all sides to account for pos-
sible inaccuracies in the sketch mapping process. The
result is a hunting zone of 77.6 km2 (Figure 2).
In light of evidence that tapirs often frequent
anthropogenic habitats, especially secondary forest
(Foerster and Vaughan 2002; Reyna-Hurtado and
Tanner 2005), I also include actively cultivated fields
in Figure 2. These are fields cleared during the dry
season (January-May) for planting in May and June,
2005. The map does not include fields planted at the
beginning of the dry season, which are usually bean
or corn fields in the alluvial floodplains alongside the
river. The map also does not include fallows, although
the Mayangna and Miskito preference for starting new
fields next to fields from the previous season ensures
that the fallows exhibit a distribution similar to the
fields depicted in Figure 2. Throughout the hunting
zone, the areas within one kilometer of the river are
generally characterized by a mosaic of active fields,
fallows, secondary forest, and relatively mature forest.
All of the tapir kills in the hunting zone were located

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


within two kilometers of an actively-cultivated field,
and most were much closer.
To produce MSY estimates, I hold constant,
using the aforementioned value of 1.22. Production is
calculated with the following equation (where D is the
density estimate):

P = (0.6D x ) ) 0.6D

Like Robinson and Redford (1991), I note that Baird's
tapir is a long-lived species, and I therefore assume
that hunters can sustainably harvest only 20% of pro-
duction. Using these figures, if the density is 0.24
individuals/km2, then the MSY is 0.006 individuals/
km2. If the density is 0.66 individuals/km2, then the
MSY is 0.017 individuals/km2. Finally, if the density is
1.6 individuals/km2, then the MSY is 0.042 individuals/
km2. These MSY estimates can be multiplied by the
average body mass of the species to calculate the poten-
tial harvest of biomass (kg/km2).


Fourteen tapirs were killed during the study period.
Informants also reported that they injured two other
tapirs with rifles, but the animals subsequently mana-
ged to escape. Although hunters returned the following
day to track these injured tapirs, they could not locate
them, and the extent of the injuries is not known. Of
the fourteen tapirs that were killed and brought back
to the community, ten were males and four were fema-
les, and all were adults. We were able to weigh two of
the animals in their entirety, both times in December.
An adult female weighed 166.5 kg while an adult male
weighed 186.5 kg. Dogs played a role in eleven of the
kills, usually by pursuing the tapir to a site where the
hunter or others could catch up and attack it. Hunters
with rifles made two of the remaining three kills. The
last tapir was killed when a hunter spotted a tapir in
the shallows of the river, and he and his companions
were able to maneuver their boat close enough to stab
the animal with a lance.
Thirteen of the kills occurred in the core hunting
zone. Six of these kills were made in the river itself,
usually because the dogs had chased the tapir into the
water. Six other kills occurred in stream beds, where
the tapirs turned to face the dogs, thus giving the hun-
ter time to catch up and initiate an attack (cf. Smith
1976:456). The final kill site (the westernmost point in
Figure 2) was a boggy location visited by a rifle hunter
who suspected that he might find a tapir there.
Including only the thirteen tapirs killed in the
hunting zone, the annual harvest of tapirs is 0.168
individuals/km2. This harvest easily exceeds all of the
MSY estimates calculated above. The harvest of tapirs

in the hunting zone would therefore exceed sustainable
limits even if the density of tapirs around the commu-
nities were equal to the highest population density ever
recorded, that of Corcovado National Park in Costa
Rica (Foerster 2002).


Native informants in Arang Dak and Suma Pipi report
that the annual harvest of tapirs has been fairly con-
sistent since they returned to the area from Honduran
refugee camps in 1991. It is probable that the harvest
of tapirs in the hunting zone has exceeded sustainable
limits for about 15 years, although there are no data
to confirm this supposition. Therefore, an interesting
question is how the tapir population has avoided loca-
lized extirpation in the hunting zone.
There are essentially two possible explanations,
which are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The first
possibility is that tapirs exist at higher densities than
the estimate used to calculate the MSY. Germane to
this hypothesis is the observation that tapirs seem to
thrive in anthropogenic habitats, where they browse
on fast-growing secondary vegetation. Theoretically,
the enhanced foraging opportunities in anthropogenic
habitats could allow tapirs to breed more prolifically
and exist at abnormally high densities. This relation-
ship has not been demonstrated empirically, however.

Figure 2. The location of the 13 tapir kills in the hunt-
ing zone.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


The second explanation is that the unsustainable
harvest of tapirs in the hunting zone is balanced by
the immigration of tapirs from lightly hunted areas.
In a review of source-sink hunting dynamics in the
Neotropics, Novaro et al. (2000) note that hunted tapir
populations generally survive only where there are
large unexploited areas adjacent to the hunting zone.
Similarly, the undeveloped areas upstream of Arang
Dak probably serve as a source of dispersing tapirs. As
part of the TNC project, the indigenous territories were
divided into use zones, including areas of infrequent
use and conservation (Stocks 2003). In Kipla Salt
Tasbaika, the size of these two zones exceeds 500 km2,
and most of this area is located in the headwaters of
the Lakus River upstream of Arang Dak. Neighboring
territories have similar zones, which combine with the
unexploited area in Kipla Salt Tasbaika to form the
Waula Conservation Area (Stocks 2003). Given the
extent to which tapir populations can be depleted near
communities, maintaining the integrity of this conser-
vation area might be the key to the survival of this
species in the reserve. Because source-sink dynamics
seem vital to the long-term sustainability of tapir popu-
lations throughout the Neotropics, conservationists
should give more attention to sustainability models
that specifically address the spatial characteristics of
source areas (Salas and Kim 2002).
Reducing the harvest of tapirs would also help to
sustain the population. Employees of the Saint Louis
Zoo's Proyecto Biodiversidad, which has been working
in the Bosawas Reserve since 2000, recently met with
territorial leaders in Kipla Salt Tasbaika to present
results of the project's research (Williams-Guillen et al.
2006). During that meeting, territorial leaders infor-
mally agreed (pending ratification) to implement limits
on the harvest of three species: white-lipped peccaries,
spider monkeys, and tapirs. This agreement limits
the number of tapirs that individual hunters can kill
each year, and the hunting of tapirs is forbidden in
November and December. Geographically, the hunting
of tapirs is restricted to the agricultural and frequent
use zones. Additional stipulations include a prohibi-
tion on kills of females with accompanying offspring,
and hunting should be directed only at those tapirs
which damage crops. Employees of the zoo's project
are currently cooperating with leaders to explain and
present these norms to communities throughout Kipla
Sait Tasbaika.
This conservation initiative is not without chal-
lenges, however. Tapir meat is highly-valued, and a
hunter who sells most of the meat from a full-sized
tapir can earn almost US$100. In a setting where the
standard pay for a day of agricultural labor is about
US$4, a tapir kill can be a relatively lucrative economic
opportunity for hunters. As long as this opportuni-
ty exists, hunters might be inclined to disregard the

newly-established norms. Similarly, foregoing chances
to kill tapirs might seem risky to local farmers, who
are understandably concerned about the possibility
that the animals could soon consume their staple
crops. Hunters generally hunt in patches of forest
near their fields, and tapirs that they encounter are
considered a potential threat even if there has been no
recent damage to crops.
Hunting with dogs also complicates the situation
somewhat. On hunting trips, the dogs typically fan
out into the forest to search for game. When the dogs
encounter and pursue animals, the hunters are often
uncertain what species is being pursued, and they
are effectively powerless to interrupt the pursuit until
they catch up to the dogs, at which point the tapir and
the dogs might be in active combat. Although tapirs
are usually considered less dangerous to dogs than
jaguars, giant anteaters, and white-lipped peccaries,
hunters say that bites from a tapir can severely wound
a dog. Good hunting dogs can be sold for more than
US$30, and hunters attempt to protect their dogs as
much as possible. When a tapir poses an immediate
threat to a valued dog, it is difficult to imagine a hunter
refraining from an attack.
Not all dogs are capable of matching the tapir's
pace on a high-speed pursuit, and escapes are com-
mon. Also, unless the tapir is chased into the river,
hunters without rifles are often unable to get close
enough to attack the animal. Dogs and rifles are a
potent combination, as the use of dogs increases the
rate at which hunters encounter tapirs, and rifles
allow hunters to attack tapirs once they catch up to
the pursuit. Although forbidding the use of rifles when
hunting with dogs might reduce the harvest of tapirs,
hunters would be reluctant to relinquish their guns,
as they are sometimes needed to fend off jaguars that
prey on the dogs (perhaps the leading cause of death
for adult dogs in the reserve).
It is important for conservationists to understand
and appreciate the economic context in which hunting
decisions are made. When management plans account
for local concerns and perspectives, they stand a better
chance of lasting success. By promoting a manage-
ment plan that does not prohibit the hunting of tapirs
which damage crops, the Saint Louis Zoo's project
has increased the likelihood that the residents of the
territory will abide by the new regulations. Overall,
the prospects for the conservation of tapirs in the
Kipla Salt Tasbaika are reasonably promising, in large
part because the indigenous leadership has repeatedly
emphasized its commitment to wildlife management.
The Mayangna and Miskito residents of the Bosawas
Reserve recognize the value of the forest to their liveli-
hood and subsistence, and their willingness to coope-
rate with external scientists and organizations bodes
well for the immediate future of the tapir population.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006



This research was supported by a Fulbright student
grant, the National Science Foundation (Dissertation
Improvement Award #0413037), the Hill Foundation,
and a Sanders Dissertation Grant. I would like to ack-
nowledge the assistance of everyone associated with
the Saint Louis Zoo's Proyecto Biodiversidad.


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Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Confirmaci6n de la Presencia del Tapir Centroamericano

(Tapirus bairdii) en Colombia, y Estudio Preliminar sobre

Algunos Aspectos de su Historia Natural

en el Parque Nacional Natural Los Katios

Hector F Restrepo' & Octavio Betancourt

Bi6logo, M.Sc. Fundaci6n Wii, Colombia
Member, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)


En el present studio se estudia a la especie
Tapir Centroamericano (Tapirus bairdii), pre-
sente en el Parque Nacional Natural Los Katios,
mediante 19 observaciones directs de un minute
o mas de duraci6n (tres minutes en promedio),
respaldadas con registro filmico. Ademas se docu-
menta aspects relacionados con la alimentaci6n,
actividad diaria, uso de habitat y aspects poblaci-
onales de esta especie. El studio es el primero en
ser realizado in situ para esta especie en Colombia,
y ademas confirm la presencia de la especie en el
pais. En el area estudiada se logr6 diferenciar seis
individuos por medio de caracteristicas externas, se
determinaron 27 species vegetables de las cuales se
aliment6 el tapir, siete de ellas nuevos reports de
consume para la especie. Se observ6 que los tapires
presentaron actividad diurna y nocturna, ocupan-
do todo el rango altitudinal del parque (50 a 600
metros aproximadamente). Se observ6 que estos
animals fueron selectivos en su dieta, prefiriendo
las parties j6venes de las ramas y consumiendo un
alto porcentaje de frutos, y se anota que pueden ser
dispersores o depredadores de semillas.


Diferentes autores como Hershkovitz (1954), Eisenberg
(1989), Mejia (1995) y Pefia et al. (1996) reportan la
presencia de las tres species de tapires Neotropicales
en Colombia: T. pinchaque ha sido reportada desde
los 1.400 hasta los 4.700 metros sobre nivel del mar,
pero son mas comunes entire los 2.000 y los 4.300
metros (Downer 1996), mientras que las otras dos
species (T. terrestres y T. bairdii) habitan en tierras
bajas y bosques premontanos (Eisenberg 1989). Se
supone que la distribuci6n hist6rica de T. bairdii en

Colombia cubre la Regi6n del Pacifico, pero se ha
documentado su extinci6n en la mayor parte de su
territorio (Ulloa et al. 1996, Rubio et al. 1998). Ulloa
et al. (1996) y Rubio et al. (1998) reportan la especie
inicamente para el norte de la Provincia Biogeografica
del Choc6, basandose en la observaci6n de huellas y
en comentarios hechos por pobladores locales, como
lo anota Matola et al. (1997), por lo tanto estos
reports no son suficientemente validos como para
definir cual especie esta present en el lugar. Dicha
duda se ve reflejada en Alberico et al. (2000) quienes
ponen en interrogante la presencia de la especie para
Colombia. Navarro & Mufioz (2000) tambi6n comen-
tan que actualmente no existen reports de la especie
para el Choc6. En general los sitios habitados por
T. bairdii, son semejantes a los habitados por T. ter-
restris. De hecho, se ha reportado la simpatria de las
dos species al Noroccidente de Colombia (Herskovitz
1954). Herskovitz (1954) especula que la ocurrencia
de T. bairdii especie al noroccidente de Suramerica
hace que sea possible la ocurrencia de T. terrestris en
Centroam6rica. Estas conjeturas hacen pensar que es
possible que T. terrestris podria ser la especie que habi-
ta en el Parque Nacional Natural Los Katios, debido a
que su zona de distribuci6n llega hasta muy cerca de
dicho parque. Por estos motives es crucial la identifi-
caci6n de la especie de tapir present en el parque.

La presencia de una cresta muscular en el cuello
y la parte superior del craneo, notoria en T. terrest-
ris y ausente o poco notoria en T. bairdii, hace que
sea possible diferenciar ambas species (Hershkovitz
1954). Un requisite para ello es que la persona que
realice la identificaci6n debe mirar detenidamente la
parte superior de la cabeza y debe tener conocimien-
tos previous acerca de dicha morfologia. El objetivo del
present studio fue el de identificar la especie de tapir
present en el Parque Nacional los Katios y determinar
algunos aspects de su historic natural, de forma que
dicha informaci6n contribuya al esclarecimiento de

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


la presencia de T. bairdii en Colombia, actualizar su
rango de distribuci6n y tener conocimientos previous
que se puedan usar en la adopci6n de medidas para
su protecci6n y conservaci6n.

Materiales y Metodos

Area de studio: El Parque Nacional Natural Los Katios
se encuentra en el extreme noroccidental de Colombia
entire los 70 42' y los 70 56' de Latitud Norte; y entire
los 770 03' y 770 19' de Longitud Oeste (AZOBIONAL
1988), al nordeste del Departamento de Choc6, juris-
dicci6n de los municipios de Rio Sucio (Choc6) y Turbo
(Antioquia), en la frontera de Colombia con Panama.
El parque tiene una extension de 72 mil hectareas ;
la precipitaci6n alli varia entire 2000 y 3000mm, y los
meses de abril a noviembre correspondent a los lluvio-
sos con un veranillo en junior, mientras que el period
de diciembre a marzo corresponde a los meses secos.
La temperature media es de 27C y la humedad rela-
tiva varia entire 80 y 100% en el dia (Garc6s & de la
Cerda 1994). El parque, segun la clasificaci6n de
zonas de vida de Holdridge, corresponde a bosque
humedo Tropical (bh T). El parque abarca altu-
ras entire los 50 y 600 m.s.n.m (Fundaci6n NATURA
2000) y se puede dividir en tres sectors: de colinas y
serranias, de superficies inundables y de superficies
anegadizas, donde sobresale el "Tap6n del Dari6n"
(INDERENA 1988). La zona de colinas altas y ser-
ranias ocupa la mayor parte del parque, mientras que
la zona de llanura aluvial ocupa un 45% del parque
(Molano et al. 1996). El parque Nacional Natural
Los Katios esta inscrito desde 1994 en el listado del
Patrimonio Mundial de la UNESCO. El present estu-
dio se realize durante la estaci6n seca e inicios de la
estaci6n lluviosa entire los meses de enero a mayo de
2002, en un area comprendida entire las microcuencas
de los rios Tendal y Tilupo.
Identificaci6n de la especie: con el fin de obtener
observaciones directs y registros filmicos y fotogrd-
ficos que permitieran identificar la especie, se reali-
zaron bfisquedas diurnas y nocturnas en las zonas
donde previamente fueron observados rastros de tapir
en forma repetida (pisadas, ramoneo y excretas). Los
tapires se detectaron por su olor (parecido al olor que
despiden las mulas), ruido al caminar o comer, o por
encuentros casuales. Una vez ubicados los animals,
se efectuaron acercamientos cautelosos que permi-
tieran obtener los registros, procurando tener un buen
enfoque en la parte superior de la cabeza del animal.
Alimentaci6n: Con el fin de establecer los hibitos
alimenticios de los tapires en el area de studio, se
cuantificaron las proporciones de diferentes parties
vegetables presents en las excretas. Para ello se camin6
por los cauces de los rios y arroyos observando las

orillas y el fondo de los mismos (Naranjo 1995a),
colectando las heces frescas que presentaran al menos
cinco pelotillas. Estas fueron secadas al sol y etiqueta-
das, para luego ser analizadas con los m6todos de
frecuencia de ocurrencia y peso utilizados por Naranjo
(1995a) y Naranjo & Cruz (1998). Dichos m6todos
consistent en estimar las proporciones de tres tipos de
alimentos (hojas, parties de frutos incluidas las semil-
las, y tallos con mds de 1mm de diametro), expresa-
dos como porcentajes. En el m6todo de frecuencia
de ocurrencia se extrajo de cada muestra de excreta
una submuestra de 15g que se analizaron segun la
tecnica propuesta por Chanrad & Box (1964, citados
por Naranjo 1995a): la submuestra se esparci6 uni-
formemente sobre un rectingulo de cart6n de 14 x 18
centimetros, con diez lines divisorias equidistantes,
con un marco de puntos de diez varillas en 60 puntos
ubicados al azar. Para cada submuestra se registry la
frecuencia de ocurrencia de cada uno de los tres tipos
de alimento. En el m6todo del peso, se separ6 manu-
almente de cada una de las excretas los tres tipos de
alimento de una submuestra de excreta de 30g. Los
tres tipos de alimento presents en la submuestra
(hojas, tallos y frutos) se pesaron en una balanza con
precision de 0.1 gramos. Los resultados obtenidos con
ambos m6todos (frecuencia de ocurrencia y peso) fuer-
on comparados mediante andlisis de correlaci6n de
Pearson y los resultados obtenidos de cada item fuer-
on contrastados entire los m6todos con una prueba de
T-Student para muestras independientes.
Para determinar las species botdnicas que el
tapir consume en el area de studio, cada vez que se
observe a un individuo de tapir forrajear se colect6 y
marc6 la plant consumida para luego colectar par-
tes f6rtiles que posteriormente fueron preservadas y
Ilevadas al Herbario de la Universidad de Antioquia
para ser determinadas. Tambi6n se tuvo en cuenta
aquellas plants que presentaron sefiales de ramoneo
caracteristico del tapir (en la zona son los unicos ungu-
lados ramoneadores con incisivos en la parte superior)
y que ademas presentaran huellas de pisadas de estos
animals alrededor. Las parties vegetables encontradas
en las excretas y que permitieran saber la plant de
procedencia tambi6n fueron colectadas, para luego
determinar la especie a la cual pertenecian.
Horario de actividad: con el objeto de establecer un
patr6n de horario en el cual los tapires realizan dife-
rentes actividades, en todas las observaciones directs
se registry el tipo de actividad observada y la hora.
Frecuencia de presencia: con el fin de determinar
la frecuencia de presencia de la especie en la zona, se
recorrieron en horas de la mariana (0700-1100 horas)
tres segments del rio Tendal (de dos, uno y dos km
de distancia) durante 59 dias consecutivos, registran-
do la presencia de pisadas o excretas en las margenes
y en las orillas, las excretas encontradas se removie-

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


ron para evitar ser contadas de nuevo al dia siguiente
(Aranda 1988). Tambi6n se recorri6 todo el rango
altitudinal de la zona de studio (50 600 metros de
altitude aproximadamente) registrando la ocurrencia
de tapires, indicada por la presencia de huellas o por
observaci6n direct. Se establecieron dos transectos de
11 Km cada uno, en el sector del Tendal y otro en el
sector del Tilupo, en cada uno se realizaron 9 recorri-
dos. Igualmente siguiendo los cauces de las quebradas
del mismo nombre se hicieron recorridos de 5 km por
30 dias en total, en el tiempo de studio. Estos sector
y los quebradas que alli se encuentran estin cubiertas
por bosques altos densos perennifolios de la selva
humeda caracteristica del choco biogeografico.
Aproximaci6n de la estructura poblacional: en cada
observaci6n direct se realizaron anotaciones de sexo,
edad relative, acompafiamiento de infants, y presen-
cia de caracteristicas externas.


Este studio se desarrollo durante los meses de octub-
re noviembre y diciembre del 2001 y enero del 2002.
Identificaci6n de la especie: se obtuvo un total de
19 observaciones directs, con una duraci6n minima
de 1 minute, una duraci6n maxima de 26 minutes y
tres minutes en promedio por observaci6n, tambi6n
se obtuvo material filmico (las peliculas fotograficas
obtenidas sufrieron deterioro a causa de las condicio-
nes de alta humedad y temperature de la
zona). Mediante dichas observaciones se
logr6 establecer que Tapirus bairdii es la
especie present en el area de studio. porcentaj
los m6tod
Alimentaci6n: se colectaron 33 excre-
tas frescas. Las muestras de estas excre-
tas presentaron en promedio una ocur-
rencia de 65% de hojas y 27% de frutos, Fre t iata
mientras que el peso promedio fue de
41% para las hojas y de 47% para los Frecuimnd
frutos. Se observe correlaci6n entire los
porcentajes obtenidos mediante ambos Frecwnc d
m6todos (frecuencia de ocurrencia y
peso) para cada tipo de alimento hallado
en las excretas (Tabla 1). Sin embargo no
hubo similaridad de los porcentajes pro- Tabla 2. P
medio de tipo de alimento entire ambos de items al
m6todos (Tabla 2). de frecuen
Se observaron 27 species vegetables
consumidas por los tapires (Tabla 3),
ocho de ellas se lograron identificar hasta
especie, tres de ellas son nuevos reports n
de consume para T. bairdii. Dieciseis
species se identificaron hasta g6nero, FRtL
cuatro son nuevos reports de consume; Tals

tres species se identificaron hasta familiar. El total
de species pertenecen a 24 families. Las species
vegetables que se consider son consumidas con mayor
frecuencia fueron Acalipha diversifolia y Sanchesia
penellii, seguidas por Cecropia sp. (yarumo), Urera
sp. (pringamoza) y Philodendron sp. Las demas espe-
cies se observaron ramoneadas esporadicamente. En
general los tapires consumieron parties tiernas, tales
como brotes y hojas terminales. En las excretas se
pudo diferenciar cinco species de vegetables debido a
la presencia de semillas o parte de ellas (Ficus sp.,
Manilkara sapota, Dipterix panamensis y una fabacea
no determinada), o por la presencia de parties de fru-
tos (Raphia taedigera, Astrocaryum standleyanum y
Ficus sp.).
Horario de actividad: se observe actividad de des-
plazamiento y consecuci6n de alimentos en el dia y en
la noche, las actividades de descanso (se consider
como actividad de descanso aquella en la que los
tapires permanecieron echados, sin tener en cuenta
los moments en los cuales permanecieron quietos y
parados) se observaron solamente durante el dia. En
una ocasi6n se encontr6 un macho y una hembra en
estado de suefio profundo (1330 y 1345 horas), a tres-
cientos metros uno del otro; otra observaci6n de des-
canso ocurri6 a las 1245 horas, despu6s de seguir a un
macho por 18 minutes. La mayor actividad observada
fue la de caminar y comer.
Frecuencia de presencia: solo en una ocasi6n no se
presentaron indicios de presencia de tapir en el recor-

rueba de correlaci6n de Pearson entire los valores de
de los items alimenticios de Tapirus bairdii hallados con
os de frecuencia y peso.

FP** hs ku Pso dNtte Pees dlait

ho 0.0.151

*twloF ftw
pc 0(01

ruebaT-Student de similaridad entire los valores medios
imenticios de Tapirus bairdii, obtenidos con los mdtodos
cia y peso.

FrecumHnui%) POY,
medI Demr mn esftsi drnl DVeoiamn eWanK VI0t P
65.2 20.10 41.1 17.3 < .DM1
272 2094 47 21 7 <(01
7.0 5.42 U1.9 ".02 0.03

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Tabla 3. Especies vegetables consumidas por Tapirus bairdii en el Parque Nacional Natural
Los Katios.

FMil M Etpele NI0 e Pa* iprlnpmIr de
vrnlculo conumkta emiES
Acnthat S*e*rhi ver* Dcnddot H No.
Aptidnwace AamfJnda sp. W D oan~ado H. T ba.
Arae. PMdkdwxkr ,p. Di. nddo H.T No.
AreaeasM AocaWrum afanadlyenum Gusnample F, $ p.
AMcacwu, Rfthb fusucts Pgwre F 8i
Amatunaa CyM pwt"ufa* n' Decanoid HM No.
Amaw ac n rnwip Dpes ncid H No.

Afltwace vfwors s. Deonoclo H No.
Anton. 8o'ta q." Deana i~o I-I ItN

CacaCese Cart sp. Desoorncdo H,T No.
Cmopaceaw Ccapk sp. yunoT H No.
EuptwiWase Ap&fvw Mi 2p. Dbeaconock H Nc.
EuptwMbiaem Acsl4a d&wliba Desacnodcio T No.
Faacebe Indeermlnada Desconocilo F
Face.oa nd*& pfnamnwaiw CholbA F St.
Laganicmea SrMos p E Dscenocdo F S.
Mknosacaaa ws ap. Guamn H No.
Morcmw Ficus sp. DnsCooitdo H No,
PaSalloraea Indeltermlnada Bauqi H No.
Pip@r.ars Pmuwrgius w Dkeconoddo H No,
Rdiacewe Indtenrmlnada DeWSonocxdo H No.
SaplndacW Pai sap. Dsconoddo H No.
Sapolacae Ara ira s"pca Calmnto F DepOrdaci6n.
Uklic Urwm ap Pringmwn H,T o.
SerculCaeM Bywara op. Dwuanocido H No.
TicNes TAifetfla Bp. Daonoddo H
Tlielaa Craretr ip. Deceonoddo H No.

presencia de juveni-
les. En el total de
avistamientos se
logr6 determinar
el sexo de cinco
machos y seis hem-
bras. Entre los ani-
males diferenciados
por caracteristicas
externas, dos fueron
machos y tres fuer-
on hembras. No fue
possible diferenciar
m por sexo m por
rasgos externos a
los dos infants que
aun tenian pelaje
De los seis tapi-
res diferenciados
(Tabla 4), las carac-
teristicas externas
mas conspicuas
fueron: genita-
les, edad relative
(segtin el tamafio,
de adults y pres-
encia de manchas
claras en el pelaje)
y presencia de cica-
trices. Sin embargo,
tambi6n fue possible
diferenciar otras
como el tamafio
corporal, colora-
ci6n, y fisonomia,
que con el tiempo

* Nuevo report de consume para la especie. H = hojas, F = frutos, S = semilla,T = tallos. se fueron hacien-
do mas facilmente
apreciables debido
rido durante los 59 dias consecutivos de observaci6n a la experiencia adquirida por el observador. El sexo
a lo largo del Rio Tendal. Se encontraron indicios de se logr6 determinar por observaci6n de los genitales y
la presencia de tapir en todo el rango altitudinal (50 mediante la observaci6n de micciones.
-600 m.s.n.m aproximadamente), pero se evidencio de
forma subjetiva una mayor cantidad de indicios (obser-
vaciones directs e indirectas) en las zonas bajas con Discusi6n
presencia de fuentes de agua. No se encontraron indi-
cios de la presencia de tapires en zonas muy pendien- Identificaci6n de la especie: diferencias externas como
tes ni en zonas pendientes y pedregosas. la falta de una cresta muscular notoria sobre la cabeza
Aproximaci6n de la estructura poblacional: de las y una probosis mas larga y voluminosa en T. bair-
19 observaciones, 17 correspondieron a adults y dos dii pueden diferenciar esta especie de T. terrestris
a infants acompafiados de adults; no se observe la (Hershkovitz 1954). No obstante, la detecci6n de estas

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Tabla 4. Tapires diferenciados en el Area de studio en el Parque Nacional Natural
Los Katios mediante observaci6n de caracteristicas externas.

JIn ltduo EUad relHti S*xo carctnr"ic eaextme
1 Ato Mo Ctz, flgo p I pN.cWanr ew aca c ,z4 nj y
hfek aen el lonw.
2 Adulo Madh Sin Mcaha.
3 Aduo HMamtra Preana do dan msdi an l anca.
4 Aduto Hnrltr Sin machsF ni Cicsat, wtna mayor a o tro
tLair cabwrvad, cobriOn nass dy.
5 Aduto H trbn Tanao inmri a os lt prih'mwn iwnhiuof. sv w
acmpmia~a de un MaMna.
6 intanta {o(0 uMl ?] Dsono Coor grisao cn o olramn ma dare pow~ conspcua
on los ccldox .

caracteristicas in situ puede ser subjetiva, aun por
observadores experts, debido a que es dificil observer
los tapires animals sigilosos y esquivos. Fue possible
determinar la especie de tapir present en la zona de
studio mediante la observaci6n repetida y meticulosa
por un tiempo relativamente prolongado utilizando
unicamente la observaci6n del cardcter de la cresta
muscular sobre la cabeza, un m6todo alternative que
permiti6 confirmar la presencia de una de estas dos
species, sin necesidad de recurrir a m6todos invasi-
vos o al sacrificio de especimenes.
La presencia confirmada de T. bairdii en el Parque
Nacional Natural Los Katios llevada a cabo en el pre-
sente studio, asi como su possible presencia en el Rio
Salaqui cerca de la Serrania De Los Saltos (Matola et
al. 1997, Emilio Constantino com. Pers 2001) y en el
Parque Nacional el Dari6n en Panama, podria estar
indicando la conformaci6n de una poblaci6n de esta
especie a nivel regional. Esta poblaci6n estaria for-
mada por al menos 450 tapires segin la estimaci6n
hecha por Constantino (2002) basado en el habitat dis-
ponible en esos lugares. Dicha poblaci6n podria ser
una fuente de dispersi6n y recolonizaci6n de la espe-
cie hacia otros sitios donde actualmente se encuentra
extinta o abundantemente explotada, y que presentan
condiciones para que la especie vuelva a colonizar; uno
de estos sitios es el Parque Nacional Natural Ensenada
De Utria en Colombia. Deben priorizasen los esfuer-
zos para la conservaci6n de esta especie debido a que
Tapirus bairdii se encuentra en peligro de extinci6n
(EN) segun la IUCN (IUCN 2003); dentro de Colombia
se ubica en la categoria En Peligro Critico (CR) segun
Rodriguez (1998).
Alimentaci6n: el aumento del porcentaje de frutos
en las excretas al usar el m6todo del peso (47%) cont-
rastado con los resultados hallados usando el m6todo
de frecuencia (27%), se puede deber a que las parti-
culas de frutos y semillas tienen mayor peso que las

cia para estos mamiferos. Lo

particular de hojas
de area similar. Tal
vez se pudo apreciar
mas el mayor peso
de las particular de
los frutos debido a
que en el present
studio se encontr6
una mayor cantidad
de este tipo de ali-
El alto porcentaje
de frutos encontrados
en las heces de tapir
indica que durante el
period de studio
este tipo de alimento
es de gran importan-
anterior concuerda con

los reports de consume de 33% de frutos en la dieta
de T. terrestris en la amazonia peruana (Downer 1990)
y de 24% de frutos consumidos por esa misma especie
en la estaci6n seca de la Guyana Francesa (Henry et
al. 2000); este ultimo autor encontr6 una proporci6n
similar entire hojas y frutos. Williams (1984) observe
que T. bairdii consumi6 grandes cantidades de frutos
durante la estaci6n seca en Costa Rica, mientras que
Terwillinger (1978), en Barro Colorado, encontr6 que
los frutos son un component menor en la dieta de
esta misma especie. Puede ser que la 6poca seca estt
influyendo en un mayor consume de frutos, ya que
esta fltima autora realize el studio en un period
que comprendia tanto la estaci6n seca como la lluvi-
osa. Lo anterior se podria sustentar con lo hallado
por Naranjo (1995a), quien encontr6 en Costa Rica
que la composici6n de frutos en las heces de T. bairdii
fue de 3.8% en la estaci6n lluviosa y de un 12% en la
estaci6n seca. Naranjo & Cruz (1998) en La Sepultura,
M6xico, no encontraron diferencias significativas en el
contenido de frutos en las heces de T. bairdii compa-
rando ambas estaciones (seca y lluviosa); no obstante
ellos aclaran que alli existe una mayor heterogeneidad
y entremezclas de tipos de habitats que permit una
dieta mas stable a lo largo del afio. Lira et al. (2004)
hallaron una proporci6n de frutos en las excretas de
3.9 % mientras que la proporci6n de tallos y hojas fue
de 50.6% y 45.5 % respectivamente. Esas excretas (n
= 90) fueron colectadas en la estaci6n seca (n = 40) y
en la estaci6n lluviosa (n = 50), y encontraron que la
frecuencia de hojas y tallos variaron mensual y estaci-
onalmente, mientras que los frutos mostraron cambios
mensuales pero no estacionales.
En el present studio el tapir consumi6 una gran
variedad de vegetables, sin embargo se observ6 mayor
consume de species como Sanchesia penellii y
Acalipha diversifolia, las cuales presentan distribuci6n

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


en conglomerados, especialmente en bordes y claros
de bosque de tierras bajas. Tambi6n se observ6 el con-
sumo de species pioneras en g6neros como Cecropia
y Urera, entire otros. Esto puede estar relacionado con
la apreciaci6n de Fragoso (1987) que comenta que los
tapires prefieren plants de crecimiento rdpido y vida
corta ya que estos tienen altos valores nutricionales
y menos compuestos secundarios t6xicos. Ademis,
Olmos (1997) comenta que al parecer las defenses de
las plants influyen en la selecci6n del alimento por
parte de los tapires. Este mismo autor manifiesta
que, segun observaciones en cautiverio, los tapires son
susceptibles al prolapso rectal debido a la ingesta de
comida aspera e indigerible (Crandall 1964, Deutsh &
Puglia 1988), y esto puede ser evidencia de una alimen-
taci6n selective.

Todas las excretas frescas (n = 33) se encontra-
ron dentro de fuentes de agua o muy cerca a ellas (a
una distancia inferior a un metro), concordando con
Naranjo (1995b) quien encontr6 un 96% (n = 136) de
las heces de T. bairdii en cuerpos de agua. El hibito
que tienen los tapires de defecar en el agua puede gene-
rar p6rdida de plantulas debido a la humedad excesiva
pero tambi6n puede por dispersi6n secundaria llevar
a la semilla a un ambiente mis favorable con pocos
predadores de semillas (Janzen 1981). Aunque no
se encontraron excretas alejadas de los cuerpos de
agua o a lo largo de senderos de tapir como lo report
Naranjo (1995a), no quiere decir que los tapires en la
present area de studio no defequen en estos sitios.
Horario de actividad: Se observ6 que los tapires
presentaron un horario de actividad diurno y noctur-
no. La mayor parte del tiempo se observ6 a los tapi-
res caminando y comiendo. Esto concuerda con los
resultados de Terwillinger (1978) quien observe que
en la Isla de Barro Colorado los tapires utilizan el 89%
de su tiempo en alimentarse. En la noche los tapi-
res pueden tener un mayor desplazamiento, como lo
observe Williams (1984), quien encontr6 que el ambi-
to nocturno de un macho adulto y un juvenile, fue 12 y
6 veces mayor, respectivamente, que el ambito diurno.
T. pinchaque tiene un patr6n de actividad crepuscular
(Cavelier et al. 2000). T. terrestris visit salados con
mis frecuencia durante la noche (Montenegro 1998 y
1999); quizis las diferencias en este comportamiento
comparadas con T. bairdii se podria deber a diferen-
cias comportamentales entire species. Sin embargo
se ha observado que en algunas areas de Argentina T.
terrestris es tipicamente diurno, posiblemente por la
ausencia del disturbio human (Chalukian in lit citado
por Bodmer & Brooks 1997).
Frecuencia de presencia: Aunque los tapires est6n
usando todo el rango altitudinal del parque, se observe
que al parecer prefieren las zonas bajas que ademis
presented fuentes de agua. Esto coincide con lo reporta-

do por Naranjo (1995b), Naranjo & Cruz 1998) y Salas
(1996). Este ultimo punto es de gran importancia para
la conservaci6n de la especie, ya que la extension de
un terreno por si sola no define cuantos ni cuales indi-
viduos la est6n habitando, siendo mas relevant para
tomar decisions de conservaci6n la calidad del hibi-
tat, teniendo en cuenta tambi6n que este factor puede
variar con la estacionalidad. Los valles aluviales son
los terrenos preferidos por los tapires (Fragoso 1997,
Pefia et al. 1996, observaci6n en el present studioo,
siendo tambi6n los unicos sitios factibles para la agri-
cultura en las serranias del Baud6 y Los Saltos en el
Dari6n, ya que ofrecen suelos mis f6rtiles y terrenos
pianos (Matola et al. 1997). Esto de algin modo en un
future puede restringir la dispersi6n de los tapires o
fragmentar sus poblaciones y puede poner en peligro
su permanencia en el area a largo plazo, o su posib-
le recolonizaci6n en las areas donde se ha extirpado.
Por ende, se hace necesaria la realizaci6n de planes
concertados con las comunidades afro-colombianas
e indigenas, que permitan la sobrevivencia de estas y
otras poblaciones animals en la zona.
Aproximaci6n de la estructura poblacional: los
individuos adults observados evidencian una ligera
mayoria de hembras con respect a los machos. Este
resultado es similar a lo observado por Montenegro
(1999) para T. terrestris. Sin embargo, como lo sugiere
la mismo autor, es dificil afirmar esto si no se conoce
con certeza qu6 porcentaje de la poblaci6n real repre-
sentan los tapires observados. La mayor proporci6n
de hembras adults con respect a machos adults
podria deberse a una mayor mortalidad de machos
ya que ellos se dispersan a terrenos desconocidos
quedando mis expuestos a los depredadores (Owen-
smith 1988). Pero tambi6n se puede deber a que los
nacimientos esten sesgados a favor de las hembras o
simplemente a que los machos se dispersen antes de
legar a la edad adulta (Clutton-Brock & Albon 1982).
La composici6n de edad encontrada en el presen-
te studio es similar a la encontrada por Naranjo (en
Montenegro 1999) quien obtuvo una mayor proporci6n
de adults (80%) que de juveniles (12%) y crias (8%), lo
cual puede estar indicando una baja tasa de nacimien-
tos o una alta mortalidad en infants y juveniles. Para
la fecha del present studio, en la zona no se observa-
ron faenas de caza por parte de los humans, pero el
le6n venado o puma (Puma concolor) y el jaguar o tigre
mariposo (Panthera onca), que al parecer atacan espe-
cialmente a crias y a tapires viejos o enfermos (Downer
1995, Tapia 1998, Tirira 1999), y que estin presents
en la zona de studio, pueden estar controlando la
poblaci6n de infants. La ausencia de avistamientos
de juveniles quizis tambi6n se deba a que estos se dis-
persan para disminuir la competencia por espacio y
alimento, o tal vez presentan un comportamiento mis
cauteloso y por esto no se lograron observer.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006



Este studio se pudo realizar gracias al apoyo de
la secci6n Territorial Noroccidental de la Unidad
Administrative Especial del Sistema de Parques
Nacionales Naturales de Colombia (U.A.E.S.EN.N), a
trav6s del Area de Manejo Especial del Darien (AME-
DARIEN), debido a su apoyo logistico y financiero; al
jefe del Parque Nacional Natural los Katios, Harold
Moreno, por su colaboraci6n y permiso para trabajar
en el parque; al funcionario Roberto Y6pez por su cola-
boraci6n y ensefianza en campo, y a la colaboraci6n
y hospitalidad de todos los funcionarios del Parque
Nacional Natural Los Katios; a Abel Diaz por su ase-
soria estadistica, y a la Bi6loga Maribell Duque Builes
por su colaboraci6n en el trabajo de campo; a Ramiro
Fonnegra, Francisco Javier Roldan y demas personas
del Herbario de la Universidad de Antioquia por su
desinteresada colaboraci6n en la determinaci6n del
material vegetal colectado; a Eduardo Naranjo por su
colaboraci6n en la confirmaci6n de la especie mediante
registro filmico.

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Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Using PCR-SSCP as Tool

to Detect Polymorphism in Tapirs

Andr6s Tapia'-2, Melissa Ar6valo2, Maria Eugenia Sdnchez2, Tannia Witte2, William Llumipanta'-2, C6sar Paz-y-Miiio2-3

Universidad Central del Ecuador. Escuela de Biologia y Quimica. Quito-Ecuador
2 Laboratorio de Genetica Molecular y Citogenetica Humana. Pontificia Universidad Cat6lica del Ecuador
3 Universidad Central del Ecuador. Facultad de Medicina. Quito-Ecuador

Information on genetic variation is essential for
the conservation and management of wildlife, as it
allows for the design of captive-breeding plans, wildlife
management plans, and translocation and re-introduc-
tion of individuals, in ways that minimize inbreeding
and outbreeding depression (Benirschke & Kumamoto,
1991). There are many techniques available to evaluate
genetic variation in both captive and wild populations,
varying in both cost and sensitivity. Here we report on
the potential use of PCR-SSCP a cheap and highly sen-
sitive technique, in the lowland tapir (Tapirus terrest-
ris) using both fragments of mitochondrial genes and
microsatellites of 150-1200bp in length.

PCR-SSCP (Polymerase Chain Reaction Single-
Stranded Conformation Polymorphism) has become
an important molecular tool to study polymorphism
in a great number of species (Sunnucks et al. 2000)
including humans (Paz-y-Mifio & Leone, 2002; Orita et
al., 1989; Estrada-Cuzcano et al., 2005), mice (Hunter
et al., 1993), oysters (Li & Hedgecock, 1998), donkeys
(Ivankovic et al., 2002) and horses (Mirol et al., 2002;
Hill et al., 2002; Kavar et al., 1999). The technique is
based on the principle that a comparison of the genome
of any two individuals would reveal millions of mutati-
ons across all chromosomes. The majority of which are
only one-base differences, spaced out every 500-1000
bases on average, frequently on non-coding regions
and sometime on coding ones (Estrada-Cuzcano et
al., 2005). These single base differences cause changes
in the specific tertiary (3-dimensional) conformation
of single-stranded DNA molecules allowing for the
detection of both inter- and intra-specific variation.
The specific conformation of any single-strand of
DNA is dependent on how the molecule self-hybridizes
(Estrada-Cuzcano et al., 2005), which in turn, leads to
changes in its migration pattern on a polyacrylamide
gel (Orita et al., 1989).
The main factors that influence the detection of
polymorphism are: the length of the DNA fragment,
the concentration of the gel and the electrophoresis
buffer, the use of glycerol, the voltage and, the time
allowed for the migration of the fragments along the
gel. Another important factor contributing to the detec-

tion of polymorphism is the G+C (Guanine+Cytosine)
content. As mentioned above, the detection of polymor-
phism in SSCP relies on the tertiary conformation of a
single strand of DNA and the interaction between the
conformation and the polyacrylamide gel matrix (i.e.
bulkier structures migrate slower than more compact
ones). The higher the G+C content in a single strand
of DNA, the more hydrogen bonds there are, and the
more stable the tertiary structure will be in normal
electrophoretic, non-denaturing conditions. Therefore
the G+C content will be fundamental to the detection
of polymorphism. Estrada-Cuzcano et al. (2005), for
instance, had difficulty detecting variation in human
sequences with G+C contents inferior to 40%. In ano-
ther study, Nataraj et al. (1999) easily detected poly-
morphism in fragments of 100-300pb with 60% G+C
using gels at room temperature; yet, polymorphism at
similarly sized sequences with only 40% G+C was not
so easily resolved.
The mitochondrial genome is an ideal candidate for
SSCP due to its high mutation rate (Weinrich, 2001).
Polymorphism has been detected in several mitochon-
drial genes (Naviaux, 2000); for instance, more than
70 haplotypes have been reported for the cytB, with
39 synonymous and 35 non-synonymous mutations
(Howell, 1993). Furthermore, mitochondrial genes
have been widely used as an important source of
information about the population genetic structure of
a great range of vertebrate species due to their semi-
autonomous character (self replicating organelle), their
high rate of evolution and their highly conserved pat-
tern across species (Copeland, 2004). The mitochond-
rial genome mutates 10 to 100 times more frequently
than the nuclear genome (Garesse & Vallejo, 2001),
and the genetic information contained in it has become
very useful to study animal species that disperse over
large distances and are hard to observe in the wildlife,
such as the tapir.
For this study, DNA was obtained from blood
samples of 24 tapirs (Tapirus terrestris aenigrmaticus)
collected in six provinces of the Ecuadorian Amazon
Region using modified protocols with NaC1 (Sambrook
et al., 1989). PCR reactions were carried out as descri-
bed by Santos (2001) using primers described by

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Kocher et al. (1989), Goebel et al. (1999), Palumbi et
al. (1991), Rueda & Morales (2005), Norton & Ashley
(2004) and Richards et al. (1998). Following PCR, 8-
10 pL of the samples were mixed with 4 pL of SSCP
dye (formamide, bromofenol blue 0.25%, xilen-cianol
0.25% and sucrosa 40%), denatured at 950C for 5
minutes and cooled on ice for 5 minutes. Samples
were run in 8, 10, and 12% acrylamide-bisacrylamide
(49:1) gels at 280-600V over 3-8 hours. Variants were
recognized after Silver Nitrate staining as described by
Sambrook et al (1989). The resolution of the gels has
allowed us to resolve three control region variants, four
12S, one 16S, three cytB, and three COI, showing a
high polymorphic variability among tapirs sampled.
However preliminary our results, we are confident
in the utility of the technique for tapir genetic studies.
Studies in horses, for instance, have detected simi-
lar levels of polymorphism, using SSCP to the ones
reported here. Mirol et al. (2002) identified 14 haplo-
types in 100 individuals of four different breeds using
a 466pb fragment of the control region. Kavar et al.
(1999), using a 444bp fragment of the same region,
found three haplotypes in 49 Lipizziano horses. But
there is the potential to find much more, as has been
demonstrated by Ivankovic et al. (2001), who identi-
fied 19 haplotypes in three donkey populations using
microsatellite sequences and the proximal region of the
control region. And, finally, in other studies using the
same region, five haplotypes were found in Zemaitukai
horses (Cothram et al., 2005), 27 in 145 individuals
of the Portuguese horse (Lopes et al., 2005), and 93 in
domestic horses (Jansen et al., 2002).
Further demonstrating the utility of the technique
for tapirs, it has been noted that polymorphism in
fragments larger than 200 nucleotides are less like-
ly to be detected using SSCP (Sheffield et al., 1993).
Contrasting with other techniques, PCR-SSCP can be
extremely sensitive, allowing for the detection of chan-
ges as small as 1 bp (base-pair) in fragments that are
several hundreds of bases long. Yet, because of this,
PCR-SSCP is much more sensitive to detect errors in
replication that happen during PCR (Hayashi, 1991).
As such, in ideal conditions, SSCP is able to detect
mutations in fragments of 200bp or less in 80-90% of
the time (Sheffield et al., 1993). However, we have been
able to obtain good resolution gels with two long frag-
ments of mitochondrial genes, a 600pb fragment of the
16S gene and the complete 12S gene (1200pb).
These are only preliminary results and the number
of variants still needs to be repeated and confirmed. We
hope to contribute with final results in the first semes-
ter of the next year. Nevertheless, our results suggest
that PCR-SSCP can be a useful and cheap technique to
detect and quantify polymorphisms in tapirs, giving us
information about the current level of genetic hetero-
geneity of mtDNA of Tapirus terrestris aenigmaticus

and its population genetic structure, which is a priori-
ty goal for the conservation genetics of this vulnerable


This work has been supported by ODEPLAN-PUCE-UC
project. We are grateful to Anders Goncalvez da Silva
who provided some of the primers used in this study
and made important comments on an early version of
this report.

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lar ecology. Molecular Ecology 9:1699-1710
Weinreich, D. M. 2001. The rates of molecular evolution
in rodent and primate mitochondrial DNA. Journal of
Molecular Evolution 52: 40-50.


Currently, the TSG has 104 members, inclu-
ding field researchers, educators, veterinarians,
governmental agencies and NGO representatives, zoo
personnel, university professors and students, from
27 different countries worldwide (Argentina, Australia,
Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Denmark, Ecuador, France, French Guiana, Germany,
Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico,
Myanmar, Republic of Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
Thailand, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United
States, and Venezuela).

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


PERHILITAN Bukit Rengit, Krau Wildlife
E-mail: cobra7512081

Seccion Ecologia, Sistematica y Evolucion,
Departamento Academico de Ciencias
Biologicas y Fisiologicas
Facultad de Ciencias y Filosofia, Universidad
Peruana Cayetano Heredia

ANGELL, GILIA (United States)

(Republic of Panama)
M.Sc. Specialist in Wildlife Conservation and
Scientific Committee, Patronato "Amigos del
Aguila Harpia"
Associate Researcher, Earthmatters.Org

BARONGI, RICK (United States)
Director, Houston Zoo Inc.
Former Chair / Member,American Zoo and
Aquarium Association (AZA) Tapir Taxon
Advisory Group (TAG)

BAUER, KENDRA (United States)
Ph.D. Graduate Student, University of Texas
at Austin
Integrative Biology

(Germany I United States / Peru)
Ph.D.Assistant Professor & Curator of the
Mammal Museum
Department of Biological Sciences, Towson

(Republic of Panama)
Director, Summit Zoo

D.V.M. Director Tecnico, Fundaci6n Nacional
de Parques Zool6gicos eAcuirios (FUNPZA)
- Ministerio del Ambiente (MARN)

Ph.D. Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation,
Durrell Institute of Conservation and
Ecology (DICE), University of Kent

Licenciada en Ciencias Biol6gicas, Proyecto
de Investigaci6n y Conservaci6n del Tapir
Noroeste Argentina

Coordinator, Programa Parques en Peligro,
Fundaci6n Ecuatoriana de Estudios
Ecol6gicos EcoCiencia

(Costa Rica)
Coordinador de Proyectos Ambientales,
Asociaci6n Meralvis

M.Sc. Coordinador de Conservaci6n de
Sitios, Guyra Paraguay

Director,Andean Bear Project, Fundaci6n
Espiritu del Bosque

M.Sc. Proyecto de Investigaci6n y
Conservaci6n del Tapir Noroeste Argentina

COLBERT, MATTHEW (United States)
Ph.D. Research Associate, Jackson School of
Geological Sciences, University of Texas at


M.Sc. Researcher, Instituto de Historia
Natural y Ecologia
E-mail: pimecruz59;

Ph.D. Departamento de Ecologia de los
Recursos Naturales, Instituto de Ecologia,

DEE, MICHAEL (United States)
General Curator, Los Angeles Zoo
Member, American Zoo and Aquarium
Association (AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory
Group (TAG)

Assistant Director, ZooParc de Beauval
Lowland Tapir Studbook Keeper, European
Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)
Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)

DOWNER, CRAIG C. (United States)
BA, M.Sc., President,Andean Tapir Fund


(United States I Brazil)

International Affairs Specialist, Division of
International Conservation, U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service
E-mail: jeff

(United States / Costa Rica)
M.Sc. Leader, Baird's Tapir Project, Corcovado
National Park, Costa Rica

FRANKLIN, NEIL (Indonesia)
Director, Indonesia Program,The Tiger
Foundation (Canada) The Sumatran Tiger
Trust (United Kingdom)

MANOLO JOSE (Guatemala)
Licenciado, Investigador, Escuela de Biologia,
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala

GARRELLE, DELLA (United States)
D.V.M. Director of Conservation and Animal
Health, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

(The Netherlands)
Ph.D. Curator of Mammals, Rotterdam Zoo
Member, European Association of Zoos and
Aquaria (EAZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group

GOFF, DON (United States)
Director of Animal Programs, Beardsley
Zoological Gardens
Lowland Tapir Studbook Keeper,American
Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Tapir
Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)

ANDERS (Brazil I United States)
Ph.D. Graduate Student, Ecology and
Evolutionary Biology Program
Center for Environmental Research and
Conservation (CERC)
Department of Ecology, Evolution and
Environmental Biology (E3B), Columbia

GREENE, LEWIS (United States)
Director, Fresno Chaffee Zoo

D.V.M. Manager, Clinic Laboratory, Zool6gico
Regional Miguel Alvarez del Toro (ZooMat)
Institute de Historia Natural y Ecologia

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


D.V.M. M.Sc.Jefe de Operaciones, UN.A.CH.,
Policlinica y Diagn6stico Veterinario

Curator, MountainView Conservation Center

(United States)
D.V.M.Adjunct Professor, College of
Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia

Photographer, Flora and Fauna International
jeremy_holden I

HOLST, BENGT (Denmark)
M.Sc.Vice Director and Director of
Conservation and Science, Copenhagen Zoo
Convener, IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding
Specialist Group (CBSG) Europe Regional
Chair, European Association of Zoos and
Aquaria (EAZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group

JANSSEN, DONALD L. (United States)
D.V.M. Ph.D. Director,Veterinary Services, San
Diego Wild Animal Park

Ph.D. Coordinador, Reserva Experimental
Horco Molle
Universidad National deTucuman

Chief, Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary -
Department of National Parks,Wildlife and
Plant Conservation
Royal Forest Department of Thailand

Wildlife Research Division Department
of National Parks,Wildlife and Plant
Royal Forestry Department of Thailand

D.V.M. Scientific Director, Fundaci6n Nativa

Ph.D.Technical Advisor, Division of Research
and Conservation
Department of Wildlife and National Parks

Director of Conservation and Science,
Houston Zoo Inc.

D.V.M. M.Sc. Research Associate, Universidad
del Mar Campus Puerto Escondido

LIZCANO, DIEGO J. (Colombia)
Ph.D. Universidad de Pamplona

Ph.D. Graduate Student, Centro de Biologia
Animal, Departamento de Biologia Animal
Faculdade de Ciincias, Universidade de

Ph.D.Associate Conservation Scientist &
Regional Advisor, Wildlife Conservation
Society Asia Program

D.V.M. M.Sc. Research Associate, IPE -
Instituto de Pesquisas Ecol6gicas (Institute
for Ecological Research)
Scientific Coordinator,Vida Livre Medicina
deAnimais Selvagens

Deputy Director,Wildlife Conservation
Society Thailand Program

Team Leader, Flora and Fauna International

(United States I Belize)
Director, Belize Zoo and Tropical Education

M.Sc.Wildlife Ecology, Conservation and
Research Coordinator, IPE Instituto de
Pesquisas Ecol6gicas (Institute for Ecological
Ph.D. Candidate, Durrell Institute of
Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University
of Kent, United Kingdom
Convener, IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding
Specialist Group (CBSG) Brazil Regional

MEIJAARD, ERIK (The Netherlands /
Ph.D. Senior Forest EcologistThe Nature
Conservancy (TNC), East Kalimantan
Provincial Office

(Mexico I United States)
D.V.M. Manager, Latin American Programs,
Houston Zoo Inc.
Chair,American Zoo and Aquarium

Association (AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory
Group (TAG)

(United States)
Director, San Francisco Zoological Gardens

Ph.D. Universidad Nacional de Colombia
E-mail:; olmontenegrod

(Paraguay I United States)
Ph.D. Graduate Student, Land Resources
Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental
Studies, University of Wisconsin

Ph.D. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur

Researcher, Fundaci6n Ecol6gica Arcoiris
Professor, Escuela de Gesti6n Ambiental de la
Universidad T6cnica Particular de Loja

Lecturer, Jurusan Biologi FMIPA, Universitas
E-mail: wilson n

(Mexico I Canada)
Ph.D. Graduate Student, Biology Department,
McGill University

Coordinator, Proyecto Corredores de
Conservaci6n, Fundaci6n Ecol6gica Arcoiris

D.V.M. Gerente del Departamento de
Veterinaria,Africam Safari

Biologist, Ph.D. Graduate Student, CONICET-
LIEY, Universidad Nacional de Tucuman

ALBERTO (Colombia)
Institute de Investigaci6n de Recursos
Biol6gicos "Alexander von Humboldt"
Calle 138 Bis # 25-37, Bogota, Cundinamarca,
Phone: +57-1-626-1098 / E-mail:

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Ph.D.Technical Forest Official Department
of National Parks,Wildlife and Plant
Royal Forest Department of Thailand

D.V.M. Senior Veterinarian, Fundaci6n

M.Sc. Fundaci6n Wii

Institute de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad
Nacional de Colombia (UNAL)

ROMAN,JOSEPH (United States)
Curator,Virginia Zoological Park
Baird's Tapir Studbook Keeper,American Zoo
and Aquarium Association (AZA) Tapir Taxon
Advisory Group (TAG)

United States)
University of Connecticut / Conservation
and Research Center, Smithsonian Institution

Professor & Researcher, Escuela de Biologia,
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala

RUSSO, KELLY J. (United States)
Manager of Interactive Marketing,Web
Communications Department, Houston Zoo

(Venezuela I United States)
Ph.D.Animal Population Biologist
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) -
Papua New Guinea Program

Ph.D. President, Sociedad Mastozoologica de
Panama (SOMASPA)
Director, Proyecto de Biodiversidad de
Mamfferos (PROBIOMA)

Vice-President,Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF)

FERNANDO (Ecuador)
Licenciado en Ciencias Biol6gicas, Escuela de
Biologia, Universidad Central del Ecuador
E-mail: Ifsandoval

MERCEDES (Colombia)
M.Sc. Candidate, Universidad Nacional de

D.V.M. M.Sc. Genetics &Animal Improvement
Coordinator, Mamapacha Project

Ph.D. Captive Research on Tapirs: Behavior
and Management, 4TAPIRS Information

(United States)
Permit Advisor, American Zoo and Aquarium
Association (AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory
Group (TAG)

SMITH, BRANDIE (United States)
Assistant Director, Conservation and Science,
American Zoo and Aquarium Association
Advisor, American Zoo and Aquarium
Association (AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory
Group (TAG)

Jardin Botanico, Universidad Tecnol6gica de

Centro Tecnol6gico de Recursos Amaz6nicos
de la Organizaci6n de Pueblos Indigenas de

THOISY, BENOIT DE (French Guiana)
D.V.M. Ph.D. Kwata Association

(United States / Peru)
Ph.D. Graduate Student, Botanical Research
Institute of Texas

TODD, SHERYL (United States)
President,Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF)

M.Sc. Graduate Student, Sao Paulo University
(USP Universidade de Sao Paulo)
Researcher, IPE Instituto de Pesquisas
Ecol6gicas (Institute for Ecological Research)

Estudiante, Escuela de Gesti6n Ambiental,
Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja

E-mail: naty;

(Denmark I Malaysia I Cambodia)
Ph.D. Research Coordinator, Malayan Tapir
Project, Krau Wildlife Reserve, Copenhagen

Wildlife Officer, Conservation Division,
Ministry of Natural Resources

(Mexico I Costa Rica)

(The Netherlands / Indonesia)
Ph.D. SE Asia Coordinator, International
Rhino Foundation

VARELA, DIEGO (Argentina)
Licenciado Ciencias Biologicas, Ph.D. Gradu-
ate Student, Universidad de Buenos Aires /
Conservaci6n Argentina

(United States)
Ph.D.Associate Professor, Botany Depart-
ment, University of Hawaii at Manoa

(England I Bolivia)
Ph.D.Associate Conservation Ecologist,
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) -

WATERS, SIAN S. (United Kingdom)
BA, M.Phil. Conservation Zoologist
E-mail: sian s;
sian s

Ph.D. Private Consultant

General Curator, Belize Zoo

Malaysian Department of Wildlife and
National Parks (DWNP)


Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006


Patricia Medici, Brazil,
William Konstant, United States,
Baird's Tapir Coordinator
Eduardo J. Naranjo Pihera, Mexico,
Lowland Tapir Coordinator
Viviana Beatriz Quse,Argentina,
Malay Tapir Coordinator
Carl Traeholt, Denmark / Malaysia,
Mountain Tapir Coordinator
Diego J. Lizcano, Colombia,
Red List Authority
Alan H. Shoemaker, United States,
Tapir Conservation Newsletter Editors
Leonardo Salas,Venezuela / Papua New Guinea,
Stefan Seitz, Germany,
Kelly J. Russo, United States,
Rick Barongi, United States,
Virtual Library Manager
Harald Beck, Germany / United States,
Mathias Tobler, United States / Peru,
Fundraising Committee Coordinator
Patricia Medici, Brazil,
William Konstant, United States,
Action Planning Committee Coordinator
Patricia Medici, Brazil,
Zoo Committee Coordinator
Viviana Beatriz Quse,Argentina,
Veterinary Committee Coordinator
D.V.M.Javier Adolfo Sarria Perea, Colombia,
Genetics Committee Coordinators
Anders Gongalves da Silva, Brazil / United States,
Cristina Luis, Portugal,
Education & Outreach Committee Coordinator
Kelly J. Russo, United States,
Marketing Committee &Website Coordinator
Gilia Angell, United States,
Ethics Committee
Task Force Re-Introduction & Translocation
Patricia Medici, Brazil,
Anders Gongalves da Silva, Brazil / United States,
Task Force Action Plan Implementation
Patricia Medici, Brazil,
Task Force Confiscated Animals
Rick Barongi, United States,
Working Group Human/Tapir Conflict
Sian S.Waters, United Kingdom, sian s
Working Group MalayTapir
Evolution Consultant
Matthew Colbert, United States,

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.

There are two deadlines per year: 3 I 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
are accepted in English, Spanish or Portuguese language. They
should not be more than 5,000 words (all text included). In
any case, an English abstract up to 250 words is required.

Figures and Maps
Contributions can include black and white photographs, high
quality figures and high quality maps and tables. Please send
them as separate files (formats preferred: jpg, pdf, cdr, xls).

Please refer to these examples when listing references:

Journal Article
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

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,

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

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,WS. 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 Leonardo Salas, e-mail:

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 15/2 0 No. 20 0 December 2006

Tapir Conservation

Volume 15/2 0 No. 20 E December 2006

I~ Cotet

Contents ......................................... ............ 2

Editorial Board ............................................. 2

From the Chair .............................................. 3
Letter from the Chair
By Patricia Medici ................................. ...... 3

TSG Committee Reports ................................. 8
Fundraising Committee
TSG Conservation Fund (TSGCF) -
Successful Applicants for the TSGCF in 2006
By Patricia Medici ................ ......... ................. 8
Marketing Committee
By Gilia Angell ............................................. 9

Fundraising .................................................. 10
,,Save the Tapir" Campaign Collects Funds
for the TSG
By Brian Bovyer .................. .. .. ............... 10

Interview ..................................................... 11
Interview with Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Echandi
By Jeffrey Flocken ......................................... 11

News from the Field ..................................... 13
Humans Attacked by a Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii)
in the Sierra de Agalta National Park, Olancho,
By Nereyda Estrada ....................................... 13

Contributed Papers .................................... 14
Population Dynamics and DNA Microsatellite Survey
in the Lowland Tapir
By Benoit de Thoisy, C6cile Richard-Hansen,
Frangois Catzeflis, and Anne Lavergne ............... 14
Evaluaci6n del Habitat para la Danta
Centroamericana (Tapirus bairdii) en la Zona Norte
de Costa Rica
By Olivier Chassot, Guisselle Monge Arias, and
Vladimir Jim6nez ........................ .................. 17
Assessing the Sustainability of Baird's Tapir Hunting
in the Bosawas Reserve, Nicaragua
By Jeremy M. Koster .................... .................. 23
Confirmaci6n de la Presencia del Tapir
Centroamericano (Tapirus bairdii) en Colombia,
y Estudio Preliminar sobre Algunos Aspectos de su
Historia Natural en el Parque Nacional Natural
Los Katios
By H6ctor F. Restrepo and Octavio Betancourt ..... 29
Using PCR-SSCP as Tool to Detect Polymorphism
in Tapirs
By Andr6s Tapia, Melissa Ar6valo, Maria Eugenia
Sanchez, Tannia Witte, William Llumipanta, and
C6sar Paz-y-Miho ........................................ 37

Tapir Specialist Group Members ................. 39

Tapir Specialist Group Structure ................. 43

Notes for Contributors ................................ 43

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