Tapir conservation

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Tapir conservation the newsletter of the IUCNSSC Tapir Specialist Group
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ISSN 1813-2286
Volume 18/1 U No. 25
June 2009


Tapir Conservation

The Tapir Research Spotji' ht

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Volume 18/1 U No. 25 0 June 2009

From the Chair

Letter from the Chair


The Tapir Research Spotlight


Abstracts of Dissertations and Theses


Lowland Tapirs in the Nhecol^ndia Region of the Brazilian
Pantanal: Population Density, Habitat Use and Threats
Arnaud Leonard jean Desbiez

Population Estimates of Malay Tapir, Tapirus indicus,
by Camera Trapping in Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia
CarlTraeholt and Mohd. Sanusi bin Mohamed

Ticks of New World Tapirs
Marcelo B. Labruna and Alberto A. Guglielmone

Elevational Distribution and Abundance of Baird's Tapir
(Tapirus bairdii) at different Protection Areas in
Talamanca Region of Costa Rica
Jose F Gonzclez-Maya, an Schipper, Karla Rojas-jimenez

Cerro Negro:An important Mountain Tapir Conservation
Area in the Piuran Andes, Piura and Cajamarca States,
NW Peru
Craig C. Downer

Tapir Specialist Group Members

Instructions for Authors

Tapir Specialist Group Structure





Layout &

Editorial Board

& Distribution

Tapir Cons.


Carl Traeholt (DenmarklMalaysia)

Stefan Seitz (Germany)

KellyJ. Russo (United States)

Patricia Medici

Mathias Tobler (SwitzerlandlPeru)

Anders Goncalves da Silva (Brazil/Canada)

Diego J. Lizcano (Colombia)

Matthew Colbert (United States)

Budhan Pukazhenthi (United States)

Benoit deThoisy (French Guiana)

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

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

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009



Letter from the Chair

Patricia Medici

It is always nice to be able to start my Letter from the
Chair by saying that the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist
Group (TSG) continues to make progress in many dif-
ferent fronts!
We continue to work tirelessly on the development
of National Action Plans for Tapir Conservation in
several different tapir range countries in South and
Central America, as well as Southeast Asia. Our
TSG Country Coordinators are making considerable
advancements on the design of their National Plans.
Our Ecuadorian Regional Action Planning Committee
has just held an action planning workshop last
May to finalize their National Action Plan for Tapir
Conservation in Ecuador. Argentina is taking the
final steps on the development of their National Plan.
French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras and Indonesia
are planning for a series of activities related to tapir
action planning. Very soon we will have a series of new
plans ready to be implemented for the benefit of tapir
The new Red List Assessments for the four spe-
cies of tapirs, compiled by our Red List Authority
Alan Shoemaker and members of the TSG Red List
Committee were released during the IUCN Conference
held in Barcelona in October 2008 is available online
at Our TSG Red List Committee
will continue to work with the Red List Unit of the IUCN
Species Programme to keep our tapir assessments up
to date. In order to be more efficient in doing that, we
will try to find way to support members of the TSG to
participate in regular Red List training courses organi-
zed by the IUCN Red List Unit around the world.
The team of editors of Tapir Conservation,
including Carl Traeholt, Anders Goncalves da Silva,
Kelly Russo and Stefan Seitz, has been working hard
to improve our newsletter. We have put together a new
Editorial Board and developed brand new, updated
guidelines for contributions, which are included in
this issue and will soon be available online on the
TSG website. Additionally, our editors are working
to develop and implement an online system to submit
contributions to the newsletter, which will certainly
make our lives much easier and provide a much more
professional way to carry out our submission & review
process. Authors will be able to check the status
of their contributions and communicate with our

Patricia Medici,
Chair of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group

editors more effectively. The Houston Zoo Inc. in the
United States continues to sponsor the printing and
distribution of two issues of Tapir Conservation per
year and we are extremely grateful for their support.
Furthermore, I would like to thank the Copenhagen
Zoo in Denmark for their continued financial support
for the TSG operation costs.
A second webmaster Kara Masharani from the
Houston Zoo Inc. has come on board to help us
improve our TSG website ( and keep
it up to date. Gilia Angell, Kelly Russo and Kara have
been working on completely re-designing and updating
the website. In a few weeks we will have an entirely
new navigation format, new sections for the general
public, and pages focusing on tapir field projects.
Therefore, we will soon start chasing tapir conserva-
tionists around the world for information about their
tapir conservation efforts so that we can create pages
about in-situ and ex-situ tapir conservation projects.
We will need help!
The TSG Education and Marketing Committee
is also working on building profiles for the TSG on
several vehicles of social media and networking such
as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, among others.
Our Virtual Library manager Mathias Tobler conti-
nues to improve and maintain our library. We current-
ly have 550 bibliographical references available online
in PDF format for all TSG members. The references

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


include scientific papers, BS, MSc and PhD dissertati-
ons, magazine articles among others. Our TSG mem-
bers have been helping us keep our library as up to
date as possible.
We have recently established a Steering Committee
for the TSG, which is formed by a group of 14 mem-
bers representing several different professional back-
grounds, institutional affiliations, and range countries.
The current structure of the TSG which includes a
variety of committees, taskforces and working groups,
works very efficiently and in a very integrated way.
However, the group felt the need to have a Steering
Committee dedicated to discussing the group's major
issues and, most importantly, helping us implement
our Strategic Plans and Action Plans.
On a final note, I would like to let you all know that I
have been invited by the new chair of the IUCN Species
Survival Commission (SSC) Dr. Simon Stuart to be
part of the Steering Committee of the SSC. I accepted
the invitation and participated in the first meeting of
this new established SSC Steering Committee held
at the IUCN Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, last
June. It is incredibly challenging to be a member of
this group of conservationists and I feel I have so much
to learn, but being able to learn about and contribute to
conservation on a global level is extremely rewarding.


The Tapir Research


Anders Gongalves da Silva and Mathias Tobler

W welcome to our first research spotlight. Mathias
Tobler and I have examined some of the
amazing new literature involving tapirs and tapir-
relevant subjects to bring you a short summary of
what is out there. For this edition, we picked three
articles. The first is about tapirs and their evoluti-
onary history. The other two deal with one of con-
servations most fundamental problems, how do we
estimate the abundance of individuals in an area?
We hope you enjoy it!

Thank you so much for your continued support
to the Tapir Specialist Group and to tapir conserva-
tion in general! Hope to see all of you in Malaysia in
2011! Yes, it is final! The Fifth International Tapir
Symposium will be held in Kuala Lumpur in April
2011. We will start the organization of the meeting
in early 2010. Therefore we recommend you all start
saving up for the long trip to Southeast Asia!

All the best from Brazil,

Patricia Medici
M.Sc. in Wildlife Ecology, Conservation and Management
Ph.D. Candidate, Durrell Institute of Conservation and
Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, United Kingdom
Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative, IPE Instituto de
Pesquisas Ecol6gicas, Brazil
Chair, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)
Facilitator, IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist
Group (CBSG) Brasil Network
Rua Taioba, 672, Bairro Cidade Jardim, CEP: 79040-640,
Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, BRAZIL
Phone & FAX: +55-67-3341-8732 /
Cell Phone: +55-67-9965-6960

What do Tapirs, Rhinos, Horses and
Humans have in Common?

Trifonov et al. 2008. Multidirectional cross-species
painting illuminates the history of karyotypic evolution
in Perissodactyla. Chromosome Research 16: 89-107

In the Origin of the Species, Darwin proposed the
controversial notion that all organisms descend from
a common ancestor. The major loophole in his theory
was that he had no explanation as to how information
would be transmitted from one organism to the other.
In the early 20th century, the works of Gregor Mendel
were re-discovered shedding new light into how
information may be transmitted between organisms.
Thomas Hunt Morgan, in the famous Fly Room at
Columbia University, proposed that all the information
was exchanged via chromosomes based on his obser-
vations of polytenic chromosomes (which multiply wit-
hout separating, allowing for easy observation under a
microscope) in fruit fly salivary glands. Almost a centu-
ry later, the use of variation at the chromosome level to
understand evolutionary patterns has largely given way
to the study of DNA sequences. However, as Trifonov
and colleagues show us, there is still plenty to learn
about evolution from examining patterns of fusion

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


(when two or more chromosomes form one chromoso-
me) and fission (when one chromosome is broken into
two or more different chromosomes) of chromosomes
across related species. In this study, they paint chro-
mosomes of reference species (horses, Grevy's zebra,
white rhinoceros, Malay tapir, and humans) in different
colors, and bind them to the chromosomes of the three
other tapir species, one other rhinoceros species and
another three equine species. Where the chromosomes
bind, indicate areas of homology (i.e., similar) between
species lending empirical proof to Darwin's idea
about descent. Through the patterns of homology, they
were able to estimate the fusion/fission events across
Perissodactyla, showing that Ceratomorphs (tapirs and
rhinos) have slower rates of change than Hippomorphs
(horses) at the chromosome level. Furthermore, the
evolutionary tree deduced from changes at the chro-
mosomes level is largely concordant with trees deri-
ved from DNA sequence data. However, unlike some
previous studies that suggest a close relationship bet-
ween Baird's and Malay tapir, this study finds that the
American tapir species form a single branch of tapir
history, independent of the Malay tapir. While this
study takes us a step further in understanding tapir
history, it still leaves open questions about some of the
finer relationships among extant tapir species.
Anders Gongalves da Silva

Abundance that matters ...

Royle et al. 2009. A hierarchical model for estimating
density in camera-trap studies. Journal of Applied
Ecology 46: 118-127

One of the fundamental problems in conservation bio-
logy, and one that is faced by many tapir biologists,
is estimating the abundance, density, or number of
animals in a specific area. From an ecological and con-
servation perspective, figuring out this number (with a
reasonable degree of accuracy) is paramount. Without
this number, defining conservation strategies would
be akin to defining a financial strategy without kno-
wing how much money you have in the bank. Unlike
our finances though, biologists can't go to the ATM or
logon to their online wildlife-banking page. Ultimately,
the problem comes down to a sampling issue and
that means statistics! Biologists have figured out a
number of ways of sampling tapir, tiger, and other
elusive species to estimate the number of individuals.
Camera-traps are quite popular, and more recently,
bait stations and scratching posts have been used to
collect genetic material (saliva and hair) to provide a
count of how many individuals are in a certain area.
These methods belong to a class of techniques called

mark-recapture. Ideally, in a mark-recapture scenario,
you capture a number of individuals (say 80) in a short
period of time, mark and release them all. Some time
later, you capture another 80 individuals over the same
time, of which maybe 20 where marked. If you assu-
me that you are sampling a closed population (i.e., no
individuals leave or arrive in the population) and that
the chance of capturing an individual is the same for all
individuals, then the proportion of individuals recaptu-
red relative to the individuals captured in the second
round will be equal to the proportion of individuals
originally marked relative to the whole population the
variable of interest. So, in this case the total population
size would be 320. However, these assumptions rare-
ly hold in nature. Rather, populations are often open,
individuals will leave or arrive into the sample area;
and, the chance of sampling an individual may vary
with a number of parameters (for instance, the positi-
on of its territory relative to the trapping location). To
address this, Royle and colleagues build a model that
uses the spatial information contained in the dataset
(the camera-traps or baiting stations are spatially dis-
tributed in some manner) and the number of observa-
tions of each individual over several "capture rounds"
with camera-traps to estimate the density of "activity
centers" each "activity center" being the hypothetical
home range of an individual. This models takes into
account the fact that we are usually dealing with an
open population, and is able to estimate the area that
is effectively covered by the trapping stations, and fur-
thermore, takes into account individual variability in
trapping history. The authors show the improvements
to estimates of tiger population density in a park in
India that can be obtained by using their method. In
addition, their method could be used in preparing
mark-recapture methods by estimating how different
spatial distributions of trapping stations might change
the effective area being sampled. The question still
remains whether camera-trapping and other methods
are good mark-recapture techniques for tapirs. As seen
below, it seems they can be!
Anders Gongalves da Silva

A Picture is worth a Thousand Words -
Camera Traps reveal Tapir Density
in the Brazilian Pantanal

Trolle, M et al. 2008. Brazilian tapir density in the
Pantanal: A comparison of systematic camera-trapping
and line-transect surveys. Biotropica 40: 211-217

Getting accurate estimates of tapir density can be a
challenging task. For tapirs, line transects have long

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


been the methods of choice, however, collecting suffi-
cient data to get an accurate density estimate is often
very time consuming and for many sites requires noc-
turnal transect. In recent years, camera traps have been
widely used to estimate the density of spotted cats and
other species with distinctive individual markings. The
method is based on a capture-recapture analysis where
the capture history of identified individuals is used to
estimate the total number of individuals in the study
area. Trolle and his colleagues successfully applied
this method to a tapir population in the Pantanal using
markings such as scars, ear notches, spots, tail length
and size to distinguish individuals. Their cameras, set
out 1 km apart over an area of 54 km2, photographed


Abstracts of Dissertations

and Theses

rTthe number of students conducting research on
tapirs is growing continuously. Here, we give an
opportunity to publish abstracts of dissertations
and theses, which inform the community about
finished projects.

Communication of Malayan and
Lowland Tapirs (Tapirus indicus
and Tapirus terrestris) kept in
Zoological Gardens Experimental
Investigations and a Survey of the
Keeping Staff

Until now, unlike their relatives, rhinos and horses
tapirs have received considerably less attention in stud-
ies on communication. Therefore, it was the aim of this
study to test which stimuli contain communicational
information for tapirs. For this purpose, the reactions
of tapirs on olfactory faecess of male tapirs), acoustical
(playback of different animal voices) and optical stimu-
li (posters with edited tapir silhouettes) were examined
and the animal keepers were questioned on tapir per-
ception and communication. Research visits took place

a total of 27 different tapirs, resulting in a density
of 0.58 + 0.11 tapirs/km2. This number was almost
identical to the density of 0.55 tapirs/km2 estimated by
line transects at the same site. As pointed out by the
authors different survey designs still need to be evalua-
ted, but the results from this study showed that camera
traps are promising new methods for estimating tapir
density. Data collected by the large number of camera
trap surveys currently being carried out to study jaguar
and ocelot populations could be analyzed to estimate
tapir density for many different sites, helping to better
understand variation in tapir density across different
Mathias Tobler

at the zoos of Berlin, Dortmund, Heidelberg, Munich,
Nuremberg, Osnabrueck (Germany) and Mulhouse
(France) during the years 2004, 2005 and 2006.
A total of 30 individuals, thereof 13 (8.5) Malayan
tapirs (Tapirus indicus) and 17 (7.10) Lowland tapirs
(Tapirus terrestris) attended the experiments.
Differences in the tapirs' interest in the separate
dung samples suggest the perception of olfactory
information according to the "scent-matching" and the
"mate-choice" hypothesis. Yet the reactions of the
tapirs could neither be related to the age of the sam-
ple-providing animal nor with the animals' parasitic
status. The playback experiments showed that tapirs
distinguish between the voices of different animal spe-
cies. The results point to the conclusion that the reac-
tions of the tapirs relate to phylogeny. The most intense
interest was taken in their own species followed by the
closely related ones. The results of the optical test with
variously intense edited tapir silhouettes speak for the
importance of the white ear rims as a family specific
key stimulus. But that effect could not be amplified
by adding a greater extent of white to the silhouette.
Tapirs of both species reacted most strongly to the
normal tapir silhouette followed by a silhouette with-
out proboscis. In their questionnaires keepers placed
the meaning of olfaction and acoustics ahead of that of
optics both by evaluating the perception of tapirs and
by estimating their communicational forms.
This dissertation can only provide a starting point
for future studies on tapirs living in zoos. Therefore, at
the end of the paper, suggestions for further studies on
tapir communication and mate choice are made as well
as for experiments concerning olfactory, acoustical and
optical environmental enrichment for tapirs.

Susanne Zenzinger
Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald, Germany
Rainwiesenweg 6b, 90571 Schwaig, Germany,

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Abstract Introduction

T he Pantanal is one of the world's largest
freshwater wetlands. Most of the land is under
private cattle ranching. Using line transect methods,
lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) densities were
estimated at 0.21 ind/km2 in a 200 km2 area which
comprised different landscapes. Tapir density was
highest in the forested landscape (0.40 ind/km21,
and no tapirs were sighted in the floodplain land-
scape. Hunting was not found to be a major threat
in the region. Currently, deforestation and intensi-
fication of ranching practices are thought to be the
biggest threats to tapir populations in the region.
Suggestions for further research on population
estimates, impacts of cattle ranching, landscape
connectivity and livestock disease transmission are

Keywords: density, habitat use, hunting, Pantanal,
Tapirus terrestris

The Pantanal is an immense floodplain located in the
centre of the South American continent, spreading
across three countries: 140 000 km2 belong to Brazil,
15 000 km2 to Bolivia and 5 000 km2 to Paraguay. The
wetlands consist of mosaics of seasonally inundated
grasslands, river corridors, lakes, gallery forests,
scrub and semi-deciduous forests which supports
an abundance of wildlife including the lowland tapir
(Tapirus terrestris). The Pantanal is subject to annual
floods, but there is considerable variability in flooding
intensity and climatic events which will strongly affect
the development and dynamics of the fauna and flora
(Hamilton et al. 1996; Junk & Da Silva, 1999; Nunes
da Cunha & Junk, 2004).
Less than 5% of the Brazilian Pantanal is formally
protected in national and state parks, or in private pro-
tected areas (Harris et al. 2005). Almost all the land
is occupied by private cattle ranches. Until recently,
the low human population density and traditional
extensive cattle ranching practices were considered to
have little impact on the ecosystem. However, during

Tapir Conservation 0 The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group m Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009

- ~CT~~ C' I I'


the past few decades, economic and political changes
have lead to an increase in habitat conversion to open
pastures planted with exotic grasses. New technolo-
gies and alterations in exploitation practices are being
introduced and are often accompanied by environmen-
tal degradation, deforestation, damage to watercourses
and natural vegetation (Alho et al. 1988; Gottgens et
al. 2001; Seidl et al. 2001; Santos & Costa, 2002;
Padovani et al. 2004).
The Pantanal can be divided in sub-regions based on
soil, vegetation and flooding characteristics (Hamilton
et al. 1996). It is generally considered that lowland
tapirs are present in all the sub-regions; however
there is still very little information about the species
in this biome. I present results on density, habitat
use and potential threats to lowland tapirs from the
Nhecolandia region Pantanal as well as a discussion of
possible research opportunities.


Study Area
Field work took place in a 200 km2 area, which
included six traditionally managed cattle ranches in
the Nhecolandia Region of the Brazilian Pantanal.
Traditional management means that most of the ranch
is comprised of native vegetation, cattle are managed
extensively and human impact is generally considered
low. The study area included three different landscapes
characteristic of the region: 1.) Floodplains, domina-
ted by seasonally flooded grasslands; 2.) Forests, cha-
racterised by strips and patches of semi-deciduous
forest; and 3.) Cerrado, covered by scrub forest and
open scrub grasslands.

Population Density and Habitat Use
Tapir population densities were estimated through
21 line transects ranging between 3.5 and 5 km that
were randomly placed throughout the study area.
Seven transects were opened in the forest landscape,
six transects in the cerrado landscape, and eight in
the floodplain landscape. Line transects were almost
always walked alone by the same observer and census
began at sunrise. No nocturnal surveys were conduc-

ted. Details of census methods are provided in Desbiez
(2007). A total of 2,174 km of transects were walked
between October 2002 and November 2004 during
which I sighted tapirs 19 times. Distance sampling
methods (Buckland et al. 2001) could not be applied
due to the low number of sightings. Instead, strip
transect methods were used. Strip transect counts
presume a complete census of all animals within a fixed
distance from the transect (Cochran 1977). A 35-meter
width from the transect was used, as it was estimated
that all tapirs 35 meters from the line transect were
seen in all habitat types crossed by the line transects.

Hunting Assessment
Between April 2004 and November 2005, hunting
practices within the Nhecolandia Region of the Pantanal
were investigated. A total of 97 semi-structured inter-
views were conducted in 71 cattle ranches distributed
throughout the region. Hunting practices were further
investigated through the use of hunting registers and
by accompanying hunters in the field.


Population Density and Habitat Use
Lowland tapirs were sighted 19 times from the trails.
Two of these sightings included a pair (mother and calf
and two adults). Sixteen of these sightings were made
within a 35 m distance from the trail and were used to
estimate densities. Almost half the sightings of tapirs
were made in the semi-deciduous forest (46%), 25%
were made in the scrub grasslands, 20% in the scrub
forest, and 9% in the open grasslands. The overall den-
sity of tapirs was 0.21 ind/km2. The density of tapirs
was highest in the forested landscape 0.40 ind/km2,
with no tapirs sighted in the floodplain landscape.

Hunting Assessment
The semi-structured interviews, hunting register and
the hunting expeditions I participated in all showed
that feral pigs are currently the main hunting target of
people living in the Nhecolandia Region of the Pantanal
(see Desbiez 2007 for details). Lowland tapirs, which
are commonly hunted throughout their distribution, are

Table I. Density and sightings of lowland tapirs in the different landscapes of the study area.

Forest Cerrado Floodplain
landscape landscape landscape

Number of sightings (N) 16 12 4 0

Density of lowland tapirs (ind/km2) 0.21 0.40 0.13 0.00

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


rarely targeted in the NhecolAndia Region. In addition,
no human-wildlife conflict between local people and
tapirs was reported. While many ranchers complained
that collared peccary and deer raid the small crops
near settlements, tapirs were never mentioned as a
source of contention. Tapirs' well known use of artificial
water holes or consumption of supplemental feed or
salt and minerals left for cattle was never mentioned
as a problem. During the interviews, when directing
the conversation towards the use of wild animal hides
and leather it was mentioned on several occasions
that tapir hides provided one of the strongest leathers
known. On two occasions, it was mentioned that tapirs
had been kept as pets. In one occasion, an orphan
tapir was "found". This tapir lived for many years in
close vicinity of the ranch, one day it disappeared and
was reported to have established itself near another
ranch some 30km away. In another ranch, a baby
tapir was captured to be deliberately kept as pet, but it
disappeared after a few months.


In this study, walking diurnal line transects was not
found to be an appropriate method to estimate tapir
density. These results are most likely an under-esti-
mated. When conducting field activities at night, tapirs
were observed on a regular basis, whilst during the day
they were sighted only 19 times after walking 2,174 km
of transects. In the mornings fresh tapir tracks were
frequently observed. Faecal deposits either single or
in heaps were also regularly found, usually in forested
areas (heaps) or at the edge of fresh water and alkaline
ponds (single deposits). Other methods such as noc-
turnal census or camera trapping should be tested in
the area to provide more reliable density estimates.
The density of tapirs estimated from this study
was lower than estimates reported from two other
field sites in the Pantanal. In the Acurizal ranch in
the south-western part of the Pantanal, Schaller (1983)
estimated a density of 0.64 tapirs/km2. However, the
estimate is based on a best guess of number of tapir
and then only the forested area of the acurizal ranch is
considered. Therefore density estimates from Schaller
(1983) should only be compared to the forest landsca-
pe density estimates from this study (0.40 tapirs/km2).
In the north-eastern part of the Pantanal in the private
reserve Estincia Ecol6gica SESC Pantanal, Trolle et
al. (2008) estimated a density of 0.55 tapirs/km2 using
diurnal line transects. Trolle et al. (2008) obtained 23
tapir sightings after walking only 692 km of transects.
I sighted less tapirs after walking more than three
times that distance. The higher densities in the SESC
Pantanal may be due to the presence of a river and the
associate gallery forest habitat. It is also possible that

the higher coverage of dense scrub, and thick forest
undergrowth due to the removal of cattle from the area
in 1998 favoured the tapir population.
It could be speculated that by decreasing the
amount of vegetation coverage cattle may be degrading
the habitat for tapirs. Vegetation cover is important for
tapirs and in this study, no tapirs and few tapir tracks
were observed within the open grasslands of the flood-
plain landscape. Overall, cover in this landscape is very
low and cattle tend to trample the undergrowth on the
small forest islands within this landscape. Cattle regu-
larly enter forested areas to forage or take refuge from
wind (Santos 2001), they trample the undergrowth
preventing forest regeneration (Johnson et al. 1997).
This may have an adverse effect on tapir habitat. On
the other hand, tapirs were sighted in the cerrado land-
scape at the height of the dry season where no water
besides artificial water points was available. It could
therefore also be speculated that traditional cattle
ranching may favour tapirs by providing them with a
constant supply of water.
During the study, hunting was not found to be a
threat in the Nhecolandia region. Overall traditional
ranching practices are considered to have contributed
to the maintenance of biodiversity and tapir popula-
tions in the Pantanal (Seidl et al. 2001). However,
current changes in ranching practices may impact
lowland tapir populations in the near future. Since
the early 1970s, ranchers have been clearing land
and planting pastures of exotic grasses to increase the
carrying capacity for livestock. Ranchers tend to plant
pastures on the highest grounds available on their
ranch since these are not subject to regular flooding.
However, these areas are usually forested (Comastri
Filho and Pott, 1996; Seidl et al. 2001) and these
were the habitats found to have the highest densities of
tapirs in this study. In the year 2000, deforested areas
in the Pantanal were quantified and mapped, and the
largest deforested area detected was for the sub-regi-
on of Nhecolandia of which 10% or 2,676 km2 of the
area had been altered for cattle ranching (Padovani et
al.,2004). Currently, deforestation and intensification
of ranching practices is thought to be the biggest threat
to tapir populations in the region.
Tapir habitat connectivity may also be affected by
the increase in fences and fencing practices. Traditional
fencing in the Pantanal was done with four strands of
stretched wire. Larger native mammals such as tapirs
crossed them easily. Unfortunately, as properties are
being sold, new owners unfamiliar with the region are
placing fences with five to six strands that may prevent
or at least impede tapirs from crossing these barriers
(Comastri Filho and Santos, 2004). Habitat use and
connectivity may be affected by these changes, and the
impact of these new fences on tapirs needs to be eva-

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Understanding tapir habitat connectivity throug-
hout the Pantanal needs to be fully appreciated before
anthropogenic impacts alter landscapes and tapir
habitats. Rivers, marsh areas or large tracks of open
seasonally flooded grasslands may act as natural barri-
ers to tapir dispersal. Understanding the permeability
of the landscape and identifying what constitutes natu-
ral barriers to tapirs within the landscape are impor-
tant to understand for tapir conservation purposes.
Finally during the lowland tapir PHVA the impor-
tance of epidemiological studies on tapirs was high-
lighted (Medici et al. 2007). In the Pantanal, tapirs
are in constant contact with livestock. In other regi-
ons, disease transmission between native wildlife and
livestock has been widely documented (Hudson et al.,
2002; Brook and McLachlan, 2006; Morgan et al.,
2006; Gortazar et al., 2007). Tapir tracks near salt
and mineral licks, cattle food supplements or artificial
water points during the dry season have been regularly
observed. The opportunity for disease exchange is very
high. In addition, the anthropogenic changes in the
landscape may affect tapir health. There is evidence
that habitat alteration and destruction can disrupt
natural epidemiological cycles, leading to an increase
or triggering the emergence of infectious diseases and
other etiological agents in wild mammals (Daszk et
al., 2001). For example, loss of marsh area and habi-
tat shrinkage were blamed for higher tick infestation
levels in marsh deer (Szabo et al., 2003). Ticks are
well known vectors for disease. The current changes in
the landscape as well as tapirs' constant contact with
livestock may increase the incidence and prevalence of
diseases in the tapir population.
The Pantanal is an exciting place for tapir research.
Understanding the ecology of this species in the natu-
rally fragmented, seasonal and diverse landscape of the
Pantanal will certainly provide new insights about the
species. As for conservation purposes in the region,
understanding the ecology of a species that has such
a significant impact on shaping and maintaining the
diversity of the plant community is very important,
particularly as habitat alteration and anthropogenic
impacts modify the landscape.


This work was a collaboration between the Durrell
Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) and
Embrapa Pantanal. This study was part of a Ph.D. the-
sis which received funding from the European Union
INCO PECARI project. The last year of field work was
funded by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
(RZSS). I am very grateful to the ranch owners for
allowing research on their properties and the people

living on the Embrapa Pantanal Nhumirim ranch for
their help and support with the work. I would also like
to thank Paulo Lima Borges for his assistance walking
trails in the floodplain. Thanks to Sian Waters and
Patricia Medici for comments on this manuscript.


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Rodriguez, J. O.; Mendoza, A.; Quse, V B.; Pedraza, C.;
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B. S., Torgerson, P R. and Milner-Gulland, E. J. 2006.
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Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Population Estimates of MalayTapir, Tapirus indicus,

by Camera Trapping in Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia

Carl Traeholt' and Mohd. Sanusi bin Mohamed2

Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark / Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Malaysia, Malay Tapir Conservation Project,
841 Ukay Bayu, Jalan Tebrau I, Ukay Heights, 68000 Ampang, Malaysia. E-mail:
2 Malay Tapir Conservation Project, Institute of Biodiversity, Bukit Rengit, Krau Wildlife Reserve, Lancang, Pahang, Malaysia.


T he Malay tapir (Tapirus indicus) is the only
Old World tapir species. Its distribution ranges
from Southern Thailand and Myanmar, Peninsular
Malaysia and Sumatra. Due to habitat destruc-
tion it is believed that the population density has
decreased during the past two decades. There
have been no specific population density studies
of Malay tapir in the past. This study proposes a
new method for identifying tapir individuals and
estimating the population density of Malay tapir
from photographs. The study took place in Krau
Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia, consisting of 63.000 ha
undisturbed tropical forest. Two units of camera
traps were deployed at 13 different salt-licks where
tapirs had been recorded. All animal species pho-
tographed were recorded and all photographs con-
taining tapirs were analysed and individuals were
identified. The results reveal that using necklines is
a reliable method for identifying and distinguishing
between individual tapirs. The results also suggest
that tapirs frequent salt licks relatively often when
compared to other species, and that any individual
frequently visit salt licks more than 15km apart.
The study estimated approximately 45-50 tapirs in
Krau Wildlife Reserve.

Keywords: Tapirus indicus, Malay tapir, population
estimate, camera trapping, Krau Wildlife Reserve,


Without the benefit of firsthand observations, resear-
chers have traditionally had to rely on indirect evidence
such as tracks or scats to confirm the presence of cer-
tain species. Recently, automatic camera trapping has
been increasingly utilised in surveying a range of elu-
sive wildlife species that are difficult to detect through

direct, and even indirect, observation (El Alqamy et al.,
2003; Cearley, 2002; Holden et al., 2003; Kawanishi
et al., 2002; Lynam, 1999; Sanderson and Trolle,
2005). Although camera traps provide extremely use-
ful "presence-absence" data it does not immediately
present population estimates of specific target species
and, hence, offer little support in terms of population
management of elusive species. However, camera traps
can provide a method for surveying animal abundance.
The combination of automatic camera trapping and
capture-recapture statistical modelling has been used
to estimate population sizes of many wildlife species
(Carbone et al., 2001; Karanth 1995; Karanth and
Nichols 1998; Maffei et al., 2005; Noss et al., 2004;
O'brien et al., 2003; Silver et al., 2004). Although
the methodology has been used successfully in many
cases, it remains fraught with possible statistical com-
plications and assumptions about a species' behaviou-
ral ecology that are often too simplified (Jennelle et al.,
2002). Some of the issues that can bias estimates rela-
te to, for example, the functional relationship between
an index and density that is invariant over the desired
scope of inference, estimating "effective trapping area"
of large mammals, the value of random deployment of
cameras when a target species is not homogenously
distributed and the need for distinguishing between
individuals. The latter may be of less concern in large
homogenous populations when trapping frequency
and probability of individuals are relatively equal. In
other cases, where populations are small and where
monopolisation of habitat by certain individuals occur,
estimating population size from camera trapping is
difficult without, at least, being able to identify indivi-
Several camera trapping studies of tapirs have
taken place during the past decade (Holden, 1998;
Holden et al., 2003; Kawanishi et al., 2002; Kawanishi
et al., 1999; Lynam, 1999; Navarino et al., 2004) but
only a few are concerned with estimating population
densities of tapirs (Jafferally, 2001; Noss et al., 2003;
O'brien et al., 2003). This is partly due to the pro-
blem of identifying individual tapirs, which is normally

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


limited to identifying externally induced features such
as scars, black and white spots and torn or missing
ears. Apart from the latter, many of such features are
often temporary in nature and, therefore, less useful
over an extended period of time.
The Malay tapir, Tapirus indicus, is the only Asian
representative of the World's four tapir species. The
remaining three species are found in Central and
South America. With a recorded weight of up to 540 kg
(Lekagul and McNeely, 1977) the Malay tapir is the lar-
gest of the tapir species and the only one with a conspi-
cuous black and white colouration. It is known to roam
lowland dipterocarp forest, often relatively wet areas
along small streams and river (Lekagul and McNeely,
1977; Khan, 1997) although it has also been recorded
in sub-montane forest above 1500 m (PERHILTAN/
DANCED, 2001). Historically the range extended
through Burma and Thailand to Cambodia and Vietnam
(Khan, 1997) although there have not been any observa-
tion and knowledge of tapirs by local communities and
researchers in Cambodia and Vietnam in modern time
(personal communication and observation). The former
range is now reduced to southern Thailand and Burma
(Lekagul and McNeely, 1977; Lynam, 1999), Peninsular
Malaysia and Sumatra. The Malay tapir is categorized as
"Endangered" on the IUCN red list (IUCN, 2006).
While many camera trap surveys have been under-
taken during the past 10 years in
Malay tapir range countries (Holden,
1998; Holden et al., 2003; Kawanishi
et al., 2002; Kawanishi et al., 1999;
Lynam, 1999; Navarino et al., 2004;
of them have gone into details of esti-
mating population sizes based on indi-
vidual identification. Some of them,
however, reveal very high capture rates
of Malay tapirs in comparison with
other large mammal species in West
Malaysia such as wild boar (Sus scro-
fa), tiger (Panthera tigris), gaur (Bos
gaurus), sambar deer (Cervus unico-
lor), Asian elephant (Elephas maxi-
mus) and barking deer (Muntiacus le
muntjak) (Kawanishi et al., 2002;
Kawanishi et al., 1999; O'brien et
al., 2003). In some cases tapirs are
even the most frequently captured
species (PERHILITAN/DANCED, 2001;
Kawanishi et al., 2002; Kawanishi et
al., 1999), which has led to the belief
that tapirs are one of the most abun-
dant large mammals in Malaysia with a
possible population exceeding 10.000 Figure I. Kra
individuals in Peninsular Malaysia and camera tl
alone. dipterocarp fo

This study aims at identifying an accurate metho-
dology to identify Malay tapir individuals from camera
trap pictures and, subsequently, use these for populati-
on estimates and for potential selectivity of salt licks.

Material and Method

Study area
The study took place in Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia,
from August 2002 to December, 2006. Krau WR con-
sists of approximately 63.000 ha of undisturbed low-
land dipterocarp forest with the slopes of Gunung
Benom (2107 m) forming the northern-western bor-
der, and Bukit Tapah (870 m) located at the southern
end of the reserve adjacent to Bukit Renggit (Fig.1).
Approximately 70% of Krau WR consists of lowland
dipterocarp forest (Fig. 1). On two occasions tracks of
tapirs were found on the slopes of Gunung Benom at
an altitude of 1400 m (PERHILITAN/DANCED, 2001).

Preliminary studies suggested that tapirs are not
homogenously distributed in Krau WR (PERHILITAN/
DANCED, 2001) but limited to, primarily, wet areas
near small streams, swampy areas and bush. It also
suggested that tapirs frequent the area around Jenut

u Wildlife Reserve with key DWNP centres, salt licks (flag)
rapping sites ( ). Light green colour illustrates lowland

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Figure 2. Flank shots of three different tapir individuals photographed at a)Wan Bulan (April, 2004), b) Neram
(July, 2004) and c)Wan Bulan (April, 2004). Pictures have been desaturated and outlines have been enhanced using
Adobe Photoshop CS2 revealing the necklines unique to each individual.The necklines are permanent features,
which makes it useful for identification over a long time period. Necklines on left and right flank are not necessa-
rily symmetric and therefore it is important to utilise two camera traps at each site to ensure "full" identification
of an individual.

Bayek (Bayek saltlick) as well as the area around west
of Jenderak Gaur Station. From various trips into Ulu
Lompat following the Lompat River, which is the main
water way of Krau WR, our team recorded occasional
presence of tapirs (tracks) although in very scarce
We deployed camera traps at 13 different sites,
all of which were known as salt licks (Fig. 1). This
covers the heart of Krau WR and all traps are located
in lowland dipterocarp forest (Fig. 1). At each site, we
deployed two cameras in order to capture both flanks
of any animal photographed, which enabled individual
identification. We deployed the cameras for 14 days
before changing film, and when needed, batteries. Each
camera trap consist of a 35 mm automatic camera with
autofocus and flash. The camera is triggered by a pas-
sive sensor sensitive to movements up to a distance
of 10 m. Each camera trap was fitted with 1-2 units
of silica gel to keep them as dry as possible. A unit of
silica gel was made of empty film cartridges with holes
made by a pinup needle. In periods with exceptional
amount of precipitation and humidity we recovered the
camera traps because films ceased up within two-three
days after deployment in spite of fitting the trap with
units of silica gel. We utilised Fujichrome Provia 100 at
the onset of the study, but due to the high cost of these
films, we switched to Kodak Colour 400. Where possib-
le all species were identified and, for tapirs, individual
identification was carried out.
In order to estimate the effective sampled area
where the population size (N) was estimated, we
measured the mean maximum distance covered by

all individuals photographed at two or more locations
during the survey period as a proxy for home-range
diameter (Karanth and Nichols, 2002). We used half
the mean maximum distance (w) to buffer each camera
trap location (following Silver et al., 2004).
We refrained from using the CAPTURE programme
(Rexstad and Burnham, 1991) because camera traps
were not deployed randomly. In addition, we did not
consider "trapability" normally distributed in relati-
on to trapping site and, therefore, it is a less useful
measurement in a scenario where individuals and/or
individuals have strong affinity to certain sites.

Individual identification
Tapirs were identified from permanent body marks
such as damaged ears and scars as well as on the neck
lines (Fig. 2a-c). We did not utilise colour patterns on
the hind part of the animal (Navarino et al., 2004)
because we found it too unreliable as the patterns
change appearance according to the actual position of
the hind legs. Prior to using necklines for identifying
individuals we compared the patterns with five "known"
individuals that were previously caught and fitted with
radio-collars. Since these patterns did not change
over a 2-year period, we considered them permanent
"fingerprints" of a respective individual. Therefore, we
assumed that the identification of necklines on Malay
tapirs could be employed as a very useful fingerprint
as they appear as unique to each individual as the
palm lines are in human beings and whisker patterns
are in lions (Kissui and Packer, 2004; Pennycuick and
Rudnai, 1970). However, these lines can only be signifi-

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


cantly observed on a flank-photograph of an individual
and within a certain angle. Therefore, it is important
that other features (scars, broken ears) are considered
at the same time.
Each individual was identified from both left and
right flank whenever it was possible. In some cases,
flank shots were absent, but still allowed identification
of the respective individual because, for example, it
was a picture frame from a serious of pictures showing
the same individual. In other aspects, a single frame
revealing only a glimpse of an ear was enough for iden-
tification if this matched a clear picture of a known


A total of 1108 trap nights yielded 665 pictures of
various animal species, humans and "ghosts". Out of
this, we recorded a total of 14 species of mammals and
one bird species (Tab. 1). Malay tapirs were recorded
significantly more often (291) than any other animal
species (p<0.05, t-test matched pairs), followed by
barking deer (95) and wild boar (62) (Fig. 3). Although
herbivores such as tapir and barking deer were very
common at Bayek saltlick sambar deer, Cervus unico-
lour, was only recorded once (December, 2002).
In spite of being the most frequent photographed
species, tapirs were only recorded at five different salt
licks (Fig. 4) in contrast to barking deer (Fig. 5) and
wild pigs that was recorded at nine and six different
sites respectively.
All of the five different salt licks where tapirs were
recorded were located in the south-western part of
Krau WR. Apart from Wan Bulan the remaining four
trap sites, where tapirs were recorded, are situated
relatively close together (Fig. 5). Barking deer showed
much wider distribution in Krau WR and was recorded
south of Bukit Renggit to the interior of Krau WR in Ulu
Lompat (Fig. 6).
Of the 291 pictures of tapirs 82% could be identified
as belonging to only 18 different individuals, whereas
18% did not allow for individual identification. This
was primarily due to rear shots and/or unclear pictu-
res. Although many of them could be ascribed to some
of the identified individuals with relatively certainty,
we chose to treat them as "unidentified", because the
time intervals between two, or more, picture frames
on which they occurred were too large (> 10 minutes).
Some individuals (e.g. number 1, 3 and 9) were recor-
ded repeatedly throughout the entire period from 2002
until 2006, whereas others were often recorded more
than a year apart.
The largest total number of pictures showing any
species was recorded at Bayek saltlick (Fig. 7). We

recorded 224 picture frames with either tapir, barking
deer or wild boars at Bayek, followed by Wan Bulan
(83) and Rumah Tok (39). At the remaining part of
saltlicks we recorded less than five pictures of any ani-
mal species.
Bayak saltlick also exhibited the highest total num-
ber of species recorded at the nine study sites (Fig.
8). Rare species such as tiger, Panthera tigris, and
leopard, Panthera pardus, were recorded only once
at Bayek saltlick, whereas Malayan sunbear, Helarctos

Table I. The list of species photographed by camera
traps during the survey.


English name Latin name

1 Malay tapir Tapirus indicus

2 Tiger Panthera tigrisjacksonii

3 Leopard Panthera pardus

4 Sun bear Helarctos malayanus

5 Common Palm civet Paradoxurus hermaphrodites

6 Malay civet Viverra tangalunga

7 Banded palm civet Hemigalus derbyanus

8 Wild boar Sus scrofa

9 Mouse deer Tragulus sp.

10 Barking deer Muntjiacus muntjak

11 Sambar deer Cervus unicolour

12 Water buffalo Bubalus babalis

13 Common porcupine Hystrix brachyura

14 Pig-tailed macaque Maccaca nemestrina

15 Great argus Argusianus argus

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Figure 5.
Krau Wildlife
Reserve with key
DWNP centres,
salt licks (green
flags) and
camera trapping
sites (red +).
Malay tapirs were
recorded at the
five salt licks
Neram, Bayek,
Tok, Bayek-
Neram and Wan

Figure 6.
Krau WR with
key DWNP sites,
salt licks (green
flags) and camera
trapping sites (*)
where barking
deer was

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


malayanus, was recorded twice (Neram and Padang
Seladang). Six species were recorded at Neram whe-
reas five species were recorded at Wan Bulan and
Rumah Tok (Fig. 8).
Of 18 known tapir individuals, 13 visited Bayek
saltlick at some point in time. This was the highest
number followed by Neram (8) and Wan Bulan (6) (Fig.
9) suggesting that Bayek saltlick is a key area for tapirs
in Krau WR.
The accumulated number of newly recorded indi-
viduals appeared to reach a saturation point in the
beginning of 2006, indicating that no new or very few
- individuals frequent the salt licks (Fig. 10). Similarly,
the number of newly recorded individuals at Bayek rea-
ched a saturation point at more or less the same time
(Fig. 10).


Few studies have attempted to make population esti-
mates of Malay tapirs from camera trapping. It is partly
due to the fact that nobody has previously developed a
reliable method allowing for individual identification of
Malay tapir individuals and, consequently, population
estimates have often relied on "indirect" data (e.g. tra-
pability estimates, frequency capture). This has often
resulted in an overly optimistic estimate of populations
(Kawanishi et al., 2002) and the belief that tapir may be
more abundant than is the case.
Using necklines as means of identification has pro-
ven exceptionally useful in this study. Although flank
shots of individuals are important for clear identifica-
tion, a big advantage is that these lines are permanent
features of an individual. This study has recorded
individuals in 2002 throughout 2006 and in some
instances with 1-2 years interval at different sites.
Using necklines alone can account for approximately
50% of all individual identifications, whereas additi-
onal features such as permanent body scars and ear
damages are critical in supporting and reassuring cor-
rect identification of individuals on non-flank pictures.
As is important for the identification of tigers (Karanth,
1995; Karanth and Nichols, 1998) two cameras are
needed for "full" identification of tapirs, because there
is no symmetry between the left and right flank neckli-
Previous camera trap studies often captured tapirs
in large numbers, often as the second or third most
frequent species photographed (Kawanishi et al. 2002;
Kawanishi et al., 1999; Holden et al., 2003). These stu-
dies have often followed a randomized deployment of
cameras and as such it was expected that tapirs would
trigger camera traps as frequently when deploying
cameras at saltlicks. However, tapirs appeared three
times more frequently on photographs than any other


E 1
z #

Ta*f warIifV hIrdbuw Pip4abp1 Pnnzqlm
die" nrYa

Figure 3. The five most frequently photographed
animal species recorded during the study.Tapir was
photographed significantly more often than barking
deer (p<0.05, Student's t-test, 2-tailed matched pairs).
All other species listed were recorded only once (tiger,
leopard, banded palm civet, common palm civet, great
argus) or twice (sun bear, Malay civet, mouse deer).

Tapli w RMng Yidb h 11114iud Poawaup

Figure 4. The presence of the five most frequently
photographed animal species at various salt licks in
Krau WR. Barking deer was recorded at the highest
number of salt licks (9) followed by wild boar (6) and
tapir (5).

species in this study (Fig. 3). This only account for the
number of picture frames recorded with tapirs and
does not take into consideration the number of indivi-
duals in the picture. However, three rolls of 36-frame
films reveal a couple of tapirs feeding right in front of
the cameras, which accounts for almost 100 "excessi-

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009








Figure 7. The combined number of tapirs, barking deer
and wild boars recorded at the six different salt licks.

Figure 8. The number of different species recorded at
every camera trap site in Krau WR between 2002 and

ve" pictures. If these individuals are omitted, tapirs are
still twice as frequent visitors at the various saltlicks
than the second most frequent animal species (barking
This, combined with the results that the same
individuals are recorded at different saltlicks, suggests
that saltlicks in certain areas are critical for tapirs,
and that, once the circumstances are right, they return
to the same site repeatedly over an extended period
of time. The accumulated number of newly recorded

Figure 9. The number of different tapir individuals
recorded at five different salt licks in Krau WR.

individuals appears to reach a saturation point in
2006 overall as well as in Bayek alone, which indicates
that tapirs exhibit relatively permanent home-ranges.
Considering that most identified individuals visited a
saltlick approximately every 3-4 months it is reasonab-
le to believe that all tapirs in an area will be captured
on photograph within a year. Therefore, a population
estimate using camera traps can approximate "direct"
counting and provide a very accurate population esti-
mate. The main variable that can influence the estimate
significantly is the "effective" trapping area covered by
the 13 trap sites. Following the procedure described
by Silver et at. (2004) the 13 trap sites covered an
effective area of 484.30 km2, which constitutes 77% of
the entire reserve, or corresponds to an area of equal
size as the entire lowland dipterocarp forest area. As
such, if we assume that the effective trapping area is
representative in terms of size, and assuming tapirs
are homogenously distributed across the entire reserve
extrapolation of this study's data will result in a popu-
lation estimate of 25-30 individuals. The assumption,
however, is unlikely to accept in reality, because tapirs
have not (yet) been found above 1600 m and are not
homogenously distributed (PERHILITAN/DANCED,
2001). Even if they are found at higher altitudes, they
are likely to be occasional visitors rather than "resi-
dent" individuals with a permanent home-range at
that altitude. The estimate of effective trapping area
following Silver et al., (2004) did not seem to provide
useful results in this study.
The question of how large an area our camera trap-
ping effectively covered remains? This study revealed a
heavy preference by tapirs towards the south-western

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Figure 10.
The accumulated
number of new tapir
individuals recorded
at Bayek salt lick (left)
and in total (right).





corner, with most frequent visits to Bayak and other
nearby saltlicks (Neram, Bayak-Neram, Rumah Tok)
and this is consistent with the results of the survey
undertaken in 2001 (PERHILITAN/DANCED). The 2001
survey covered the entire Krau WR at all elevations and
revealed two primary tapir areas, Bayek, and the area
around Jenderak Gaur station. Considering that the
two primary sites are of similar topographic composi-
tion and size, it could be assumed that the Jenderak
area contains a similar number of tapirs (18+2) as we
recorded in the Bayek basin. This suggests there are
approximately 35-40 individuals within the two primary
tapir areas alone. In addition, our study recorded tapir
tracks albeit very few in Ulu Lompat, as well as in
areas north of Lompat, which suggests, with reasonab-
le certainty, that Krau WR contains individuals other
than the "resident" individuals at Bayek and Jenderak
areas. This, however, does not exclude the possibility
that the few individuals recorded in Ulu Lompat can be
some of the individuals recorded in Bayek as well, and
further studies are needed to cast light on this issue.
Considering they are not from the Bayek or Jenderak
area, it is realistic to assume that the tapir population
in Krau WR reaches 45-50 animals.
Bayek saltlick appeared to be the most attractive
of all the salt licks. However, since the number of trap
nights (<75) at Bayek were higher than, for example,
that of Padang Seladang (>25) in Ulu Lompat, it could
indicate that the bias towards Bayek, in relation to the
number of pictures captured, is caused by the higher
number of trap nights. Whilst this provides part of the
explanation for the significant difference in number of
species, total number of animal visits and total number
of individual visits between Bayek and trap sites in Ulu
Lompat (Fig. 7-8), it cannot explain the higher number
of visits to Bayek in comparison with, for example,
Neram, Wan Bulan and Rumah Tok because the num-
ber of trap nights at these sites were equal to Bayek.

This study reveals that tapirs appear to roam
within relatively confined home-ranges up to, at least,
four years. It also shows that tapirs are very frequent
visitors to certain saltlicks and, consequently, popula-
tion estimates of tapirs by camera trapping must make
use of a combination of randomised grid deployment
and more target specific trapping at salt licks. There
are, however, many individuals that are recorded over
a wider area, for example, individual No. 9 (male) was
recorded at four different salt licks 11 km apart. Our
data did not provide enough information to suggest that
males distribute significantly more than females. There
are certain trends that point into that direction, which
will be the focus in the continuation of the study.
The results of this study suggest that tapirs exhi-
bit habitat preference in Krau WR and that the area
around Bayek contains advantageous resources. It also
indicates that tapirs can co-exist in relatively small
areas provided there are sufficient resources available.
It is uncertain, however, what exactly makes the area
attractive to tapirs. To answer some of these questions
additional studies are being carried out on the micro-
habitat in Bayek area, which will be compared to that
of Jenderak area and other areas in Krau WR.


The team wants to extend its gratitude to Copenhagen
Zoo as project coordinator and for continuously pro-
viding financial and technical support to the project;
Department of Wildlife and National Park for their
significant staff contribution, facilities and fruitful
collaboration; Dr. Sivananthan Elagupillay (DWNP) for
his support and encouragement; EPU for granting the
permit to conduct research in Malaysia and to all the
individuals from the local communities around Krau
WR who have supported our efforts.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009



f 10

Th* p". 02 1 Juin. 01

+ I



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Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Ticks of New World Tapirs

Marcelo B. Labruna' and Alberto A. Guglielmone2

Department of Preventive Veterinary Medicine and Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sao Paulo,
Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil.Av. Prof. Orlando Marques de Paiva 87, Cidade Universitaria, Sao Paulo, SP, CEP: 05508-270, Brazil,
Phone: +55-11-3091 -1394, Fax: +55- I 1-3091 7928, E-mail:
2 INTA, Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria, Estaci6n Experimental Agropecuaria Rafaela,
CC 22, CP 2300 Rafaela,Argentina, E-mail:


In this paper, we present an updated list of
ticks that have been found infesting New World
tapirs. For this purpose, literature records were
obtained from the INTA tick database. Data are
presented according to tick species, tapir species,
and country. A total of 27 tick species have been
reported infesting New World tapirs. Most of the
reports were on T. terrestris (20 tick species in 10
countries). Thirteen tick species were reported on T.
bairdii in 3 countries, and only 2 tick species on T.
pinchaque in 2 countries. Ticks reported on tapirs
comprised 18 species of the genus Amblyomma,
and 7 other species representing the genera Ixodes,
Haemaphysalis, Dermacentor, and Rhipicephalus
from the Ixodidae family, and at least 2 Ornithodoros
species from the Argasidae family. Indeed, tapirs are
very significant hosts for the Neotropical tick fauna.
Since tapirs are usually found in less fragmented
biomes with high biodiversity, and the richness
of tick species is higher in tapirs than any other
Neotropical vertebrate species, further studies are
needed to evaluate the role of tapir-associated ticks
on biodiversity. The role of these ticks on tick-borne
diseases for tapir and other vertebrates also needs
further investigations.

Keywords: ecology, Ixodida, Neotropical tapirs,
parasites, ticks


Ticks are obligate hematophagous ectoparasites,
belonging to the class Arachnida, order Acari, and are
divided into three families: (i) Ixodidae (hard ticks), the
largest family, composed of 13 genera and 692 species;
(ii) Argasidae (soft ticks), composed of 5 genera and
186 species; (iii) and Nuttalliellidae, a monotypic
family composed of the species Nuttalliella namaqua
(Nava et al., 2009), although this arrangement is not

universally accepted. In the Neotropics, there are 194
valid tick species (115 Ixodidae and 79 Argasidae)
(Guglielmone et al., 2003, Estrada-Pefia et al., 2004a,
Labruna et al., 2005a, 2008, Venzal et al., 2008).
Ticks are responsible for vectoring a variety of
pathogens (including virus, bacteria, protozoon and
helminthes) to humans and animals (Guglielmone et al.,
2003). In fact, it has been reported that ticks are vectors
of more kinds of microorganisms than any other single
arthropod taxon, including mosquitoes (Oliver, 1989).
Most of the ticks of medical and veterinary importance
are within the Ixodidae family. Thus, studies on these
ticks have been much more frequent than on Argasidae
ticks. Of the 115 Ixodidae tick species established in
the Neotropical region, 58 (50.4%) belong to the genus
Amblyomma. In South America alone there are 53
established Amblyomma species, which represent
almost half of the 129 Amblyomma species occurring
in the world (Guglielmone et al., 2003, Nava et al.,
2009). Indeed, South America bears the largest
diversity of Amblyomma species in the world.
During the life cycle, Ixodidae ticks undergo four
stages: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. They have only
one nymphal instar, in contrast to the several nymphal
instars of Argasidae. Usually, all stages (except eggs)
need a blood meal for further development. Ixodidae
also differ from Argasidae in that each stage requires
several days or longer to engorge with blood, and they
also require larger blood meals (Oliver, 1989). For
completion of the life cycle, ticks undergo a parasitic
phase when they feed on a vertebrate host that can be
amphibians, reptiles, birds or mammals, depending on
the tick species and a free-living phase when they
are in the environment for molting, egg deposition and
incubation, or just waiting for a host. For development
to the next stage, most ticks feed as one stage (eg. larva)
and then undergo ecdyse (molting) in the environment.
Ixodidae females feed only once, produce one large egg
mass of thousands of eggs, and die. Argasidae females
lay several small egg masses of dozens to hundreds of
eggs, with a blood meal preceding each eggs mass. A few
tick species ecdyse on the host, going to the environment
for egg laying. Generally, when ticks are feeding on the

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


host, their survivorship is mostly affected by host
innate and acquired (immunologic) defenses. On the
other hand, when ticks are at free-living stages, they
do not feed and their survivorship is mostly affected by
variations in environmental temperature and relative
humidity. Most of the Neotropical ticks require cool
temperatures (between 18 to 280C) and high relative
humidity (>80%) for successfully development in the
environment. Usually, ticks from dense rainforests
require higher relative humidity (>95%) for free-living
development than ticks from less humid biomes, such
as Cerrado and Chaco.
Given the numerous pathogens ticks transmit
and their blood-feeding habits, most people would
instinctively think that ticks are of no benefit for
nature (Durden & Keirans, 1996). However, ticks (and
other parasites) are an integral component of healthy
ecosystems and have important roles in nature,
some of which may be still incompletely understood.
Ectoparasites, like ticks, exert selective pressure on
host populations and are at least responsible for
maintaining high levels of genetic diversity in their hosts
when compared with nonparasitized animals, and help
to eliminate weaker or susceptible host individuals in
nature, thereby maintaining a healthier host population
(Durden & Keirans, 1996). Some tick species also
represent important food source for a few bird species;
thus, dramatic extinction of ticks from a given area
could affect these bird species, as has been shown in
some parts of Africa (Bezuidenhout & Stutterheim,
1980). For a direct anthropic point of view, ticks are
proving to be a storehouse of useful biochemicals
(Durden & Keirans, 1996). For example, various
pharmaceutically active compounds have been isolated
from tick saliva, with antiplatelet, antihemostatic, anti-
inflammatory, immunosuppressive, or antimicrobial
properties (Durden & Keirans, 1996, Ribeiro et al.,
Among the four species of Tapirs in the world, three
occur exclusively in the New World. These are Tapirus
terrestris (low land tapir), Tapirus bairdii (Baird's
tapir), and Tapirus pinchaque (mountain tapir). T.
terrestris occurs through a wide geographic range
from North-Central Colombia and east of the Andes
throughout most of tropical South America. It occurs
mostly in tropical lowland rainforest but can also be
found in seasonally dry habitats such as the Brazilian
Cerrado and Chaco of Bolivia and Paraguay. T. bairdii
is distributed from Oaxaca Province in Mexico through
Central America to the western side of the Andean
mountain range in Colombia (the Darien). It occurs in
rainforests, lower montane forests, deciduous forests,
flooded grasslands and marsh areas. T. pinchaque is
restricted to Montane forests and Paramos in Colombia,
Ecuador and northern Peru, between 2000 to 4000
meters elevation (data from

tapirs/index.html, where geographic distribution maps
of tapirs are available). In this paper, we present an
updated list of ticks that have been found infesting
New World tapirs, and discuss how important these
animals are for New World ticks.

Material and Methods

Literature records of ticks on New World tapirs were
obtained from the INTA tick database. This database
was created in the year 2000 and has been maintained
since then by one of the authors (A.A.G.) with
information compiled from literature for records of
ticks from the Neotropical region. Data are presented
according to tick species, tapir species, and country.
Some literature records for ticks on tapirs did not
specify the Tapirus species. In this case, we deduced the
species by consultation the geographical distribution of
New Word tapirs published by Emmons & Feer (1997)
and that available at
index.html. For most tick species, there are more
than one literature report on a given tapir species in
an individual country. In this case, we considered only
one literature report since our intention is to provide a
distribution according to country, with no indication of
number of reports per country.

Results and Discussion

As shown in Table 1, a total of 27 tick species have
been reported infesting New World tapirs. Most of the
reports were on T. terrestris (20 tick species). Thirteen
tick species were reported on T. bairdii, and only
two tick species on T. pinchaque. A high number of
tick species was expected for T. terrestris since this
tapir is largely distributed in almost the entire South
America. The low number of tick species recorded for
T. pinchaque was also expected since this species has
a narrow distribution area restricted to high lands
between 2000 to 4000 meters elevation, besides being
less studied than the remaining tapir species. Among
the 27 ticks species reported on tapirs, the majority [18
species (66.7%)] belonged to the genus Amblyomma,
which is also expected as this genus comprises most
of the New World tick species. Dunn (1934) found A.
humerale on tapirs in Panama, but Fairchild et al.
(1966) consider this tick to be A. sabanarae. This
contradictory finding was not included in our list of
ticks from tapir.
In addition to the 18 species of the genus
Amblyomma reported on tapirs, there are 7
other species representing the genera Ixodes,
Haemaphysalis, Dermacentor, and Rhipicephalus

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


from the Ixodidae family, and at least 2 species
from the Argasidae family (Ornithodoros rudis and
Ornithodoros tuttlei). However, while the number of
tick species reported infesting tapirs in each country
vary widely, it is quite possible that this variation is
due to incomplete records. Most of the tick species are
found across Tapirus spp range and have simply not
yet been recorded on tapirs. For example, almost all
tick records on T. bairdii are from Panama, however
T. bairdii occurs in other countries as well. This result
is certainly biased to the high number of studies that
have been done with ticks of Panama (Fairchild et al.,

Tick-tapir ecology
In nature, ticks are found parasitizing practically all
land vertebrate species. In South America, individuals
of most vertebrates are found infested by a single tick
species at any point in time, although a few species are
commonly found infested by two species. Rarely, three
different tick species are found on a single host at the
same time (Neiva & Penna, 1916, Aragio, 1918, 1936,
Barros & Baggio, 1992). Tapirs are a great exception to
this rule, since most animals are commonly found to
be infested by 3 to 5 tick species, sometimes reaching
7 species (Aragio, 1936, Dun, 1934, Boero & Prossen,
1960, Labruna et al., 2005b). No other vertebrate
animal in the Neotropical region is found harboring so
many tick species under natural conditions. This fact
shows how important tapirs are for the biodiversity
of ticks. The following 3 reasons could be related
to the richness of tick species on tapirs: (i) natural
tapir populations are usually established in high
biodiversity-biomes with low anthropogenic activity
(Bodmer & Brooks, 1997), favoring richness of tick
species, as for example in the Amazon and Atlantic
rainforest biomes; (ii) tapirs have large home ranges
(Foerster & Vaughan, 2002), favoring direct contact
with different tick species in a given area; (iii) T. bairdii
and T. terrestris are the largest land vertebrates of the
native Neotropical fauna (Emmons & Feer, 1997); it
has been shown for other mammals that tick parasitic
load is positively correlated to body size (Mohr, 1961),
thus, as more ticks infest a tapir, greater should be the
chances of finding different species.
Most of the tick species associated with tapirs (Table
1) are known as ambush ticks. Ambush ticks wait on
the tips of leaves, waiting for the passage of a suitable
host, i.e., tapirs (Sonenshine, 1991). Notably, ticks are
known to be capable of surviving for months or years
in the environment without having a blood meal (Oliver,
1989). Thus, the successful establishment of ambush
ticks in a given area will basically depend on two
factors: (i) primary host density the higher the host
density, the higher the probability of a chance contact
between primary host and the ticks; (ii) environmental

suitability suitable environment is where free-living
stages of ticks encounter favorable microclimatic
conditions for survivorship and development. Both
primary host density and environmental suitability are
inter-related and can be extremely variable in different
habitats. This interaction will determine tick presence/
absence and abundance. For example, highly suitable
environments with low host density could support tick
populations similar to poorly suitable environments
with high host density. On the other hand, highly
suitable environments with high host density would
result in the largest tick populations; conversely,
ticks might be absent from areas with poorly suitable
environments with low host density.
Typically, tapirs are solitary individuals but several
individuals can use the same area; they have very
well established home ranges, but do not seem to
be territorial due to high percentages of home range
overlap between neighboring individuals (Medici et
al., 2006). Since tapirs travel widely through their
habitat (large home range), even low tapir densities
favor ambush ticks. Tapir paths are frequent where
tapirs occur. These paths are usually used by other
mammals, such as peccaries and deer (Emmons &
Feer, 1997), and thus participate in the life-history of
most tapir-associated ticks; and vice-versa.
Since T. terrestris is distributed in most of the
major biomes of South America (eg. Amazon, Atlantic
Rainforest, Pantanal, Cerrado, and Chaco) (Emmons
& Feer, 1997), the diversity of ticks parasitizing tapirs
in these different biomes depends on the adaptation
of ticks to each of these biomes. For example,
Amblyomma cajennense is a typical Savannah tick,
commonly found parasitizing tapirs in the Cerrado
and the Pantanal, but very rarely found in the Amazon
or primary Atlantic Rainforest (Estrada-Pefia et al.,
2004b, Labruna et al., 2005b). However, its distribution
has expanded into areas where the original Atlantic
Rainforest biome has been degraded or replaced by
livestock pastures resembling savannah (Estrada-Pefia
et al., 2004b, Labruna et al., 2005b). Conversely, A.
incisum, A. scalpturatum and A. latepunctatum are
typical of large patches of primary Amazon or Atlantic
Rainforests (Labruna et al., 2005a), and practically
absent from other biomes. These differences in
biogeographic distribution are intimately related to
the microclimatic conditions required by each tick
species within its distribution. A unique example is
Ixodes tapirus, for which its free-living stages are well
adapted to low temperatures prevailing in high land
mountain forests of Panama and Colombia (Fairchild
et al., 1966). At least in Colombia, this tick occurs
within the distribution area of T. pinchaque, a primary
host for I. tapirus.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


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Threatened tick species associated with tapirs
Tapirs are threatened in a large portion of their range,
with several cases of local extinction caused primarily
by habitat destruction (deforestation) and hunting
(Costa, 1998, Moraes et al., 2003). Since ticks depend
on the availability of the vertebrate host, and a suitable
environment for development and survival of free-
living stages, extensive deforestation followed by tapir
extinction are crucial factors leading to extinction of
tapir-dependent tick species.
At least 18 (34%) of the 53 South American
Amblyomma species have been associated with tapirs.
In Table 1 we appoint that 9 of these Amblyomma
species, plus 1 Ixodes and 1 Dermacentor species
use tapirs as primary host a primary host is the one
considered to be amongst the most important hosts for
a tick species to successfully feed on in a given area.
Consequently, the occurrence of these tick species is
intimately associated with the presence of tapirs in a
given area. This dependence suggests that the extinction
of tapirs from a given area would result in a drastic
population reduction of these tick species, or in some
cases, in tick extinction (coextinction). In fact, it has
been shown that a number of tick species in the world
are threatened with extinction (a few might have become
extinct) due to drastic reduction of their primary host
population and its corresponding habitat (Durden &
Keirans, 1996).
Among the ticks that use tapirs as a primary host,
some have additional mammalian primary hosts, but
a few including Amblyomma coelebs, A. incisum, A.
latepunctatum, and A. multipunctum seem to have
only tapirs as its primary host under natural conditions,
at least for the adult tick stage (AragAo, 1936, Labruna
et al., 2005a,b). Due to habitat requirements of the free-
living stages, the above tick species have been restricted
to well preserved forest areas, with the exception of A.
coelebs, which is also found in secondary forest patches
(Labruna et al., 2005b). Thus, extensive deforestation,
regardless of tapir presence, will culminate in the
elimination or at least drastic reduction of these tick
species. However, in some areas, in spite of habitat
degradation, suitable conditions may still exist for the
free-living stages. Nevertheless, the remaining habitat
may not be able to support tapir populations, which
could become locally extinct. Under these conditions,
tick species would also be eliminated because their
main source of food (tapirs) would not be available.

Ticks, tapirs and tick-borne diseases
While attached to their hosts, ticks secrete saliva
that contains various substances responsible for
neutralizing host homeostatic responses, allowing the
tick to have a successful blood meal (Ribeiro et al.,
2006). Additionally, the saliva is also the main route of
transmission of pathogens.

Most of the tapir-associated tick species shown
in Table 1 are known to be human-biting ticks,
with some of them being very aggressive to humans
(Guglielmone et al., 2006). Infestation normally occurs
while walking on tapir paths (as mentioned above for
other animals). In the Amazon region, humans are
infested chiefly by A. ovale, A. oblongoguttatum, and
A. scalpturatum (Labruna et al., 2005b); in parts of
the Atlantic rainforest, by A. incisum (Szabo et al.,
2006); in secondary forests, by A. coelebs and A.
cajennense; in Savannah and Pantanal, chiefly by A.
cajennense (Szabo et al., 2007). All these ticks are
tapir-associated, although not all of them use tapirs
solely as primary hosts.
A. cajennense is the most aggressive human-
biting tick in the central-eastern portion and in parts
of the northern portion of South America. In some
of these areas (Brazil and Colombia), A. cajennense
has been incriminated as the main vector of the
bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, the etiological agent of
the deadliest rickettsiosis of the world, named Rocky
Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) (Labruna, 2009).
Currently, all endemic areas for RMSF are degraded
and devoid of tapirs, indicating that these animals
do not play any significant role in the occurrence of
RMSF In the RMSF-endemic areas, horses, cattle, and/
or capybaras act as primary hosts for A. cajennense
(Labruna, 2009).
Several other Rickettsia species have been
reported infecting most of the tapir-associated ticks in
the Amazon and Atlantic rainforest areas, but with no
zoonotic role reported so far (Labruna et al., 2004).
Regarding animals, studies on vector capacity of
pathogens by these ticks to animals (including tapirs)
are lacking, therefore, the role of tick-borne diseases
on tapir conservation deserves further investigations.

Concluding remarks
Indeed, tapirs are very significant hosts for the
Neotropical tick fauna. In this regard, tapir
conservation will result in tick conservation. Most of
the tapir-associated ticks have been poorly studied,
thus their conservation is even more important. So far,
there has been no indication of harmful effects of ticks
on tapirs, nor has there been any record of tick-borne
pathogens on tapirs. This scenario is probably linked
to the absence of studies in this field. Since tapirs are
usually found in less fragmented biomes with high
biodiversity, and the richness of tick species is higher
in tapirs than any other Neotropical vertebrate species,
further studies are needed to evaluate the role of tapir-
associated ticks on biodiversity. The role of these ticks
on tick-borne diseases for tapir and other vertebrates
also needs further investigations.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009



Thanks to Patricia Medici for critically reviewing the
manuscript and the anonymous reviewer for his/her
valuable suggestions to improve the manuscript. This
work was supported by CNPq (Brazil) and INTA,
CONICET and Asociaci6n Cooperadora de la EEA-
INTA Rafaela (Argentina).


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Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Elevational Distribution and Abundance of Baird's Tapir

(Tapirus bairdii) at different Protection Areas in

Talamanca Region of Costa Rica

Jos F. Gonz6lez-Maya,2 *, Jan Schipper',2'3, Karla Rojas-Jim6nez'

I Proyecto de Conservaci6n de Aguas y Tierras, ProCAT Internacional. Las Alturas, Coto Brus, Puntarenas, Costa Rica.
2 ProCAT Colombia. Calle 127 # 45 76, Bogota, Colombia.
3 IUCN/SSC CI/CABS Biodiversity Assessment Unit, Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International,
Arlington,VA 22202, USA
* Corresponding Author, e-mail:


Baird's tapir, Tapirus bairdii, is distributed from
lowlands to 3600 m from M6xico to Colombia.
In Costa Rica the species was distributed across
the entire country, but currently its precluded to
isolated areas and national parks. Here we present
the first elevational abundance estimation for the
species in the Talamanca region, one of the most
important and key habitats for the species throug-
hout the region. A total of 36 paired camera-trap
stations reaching a total of 2,160 trap-nights were
deployed in an elevation range from 800 to 3600
m. A disrupted distribution pattern was observed
with a high density for the La Amistad National
Park at 2600 m. Also, low visitation (low human
presence) and highly isolated sites showed a strong
preference. Also, night activities were the most
frequent with peaks around 1900-2000 hours and
2300-0000 hours. It seems that tapirs have disappe-
ared from both pacific and Caribbean lowland of the
Talamanca, precluding the species to mid and high
elevation habitats with high degrees of isolation.
This study represents an important tool for conser-
vation planning and a key aspect to be considered
for regional and species level plans. Other aspects
of the species ecology, including diet and feeding
habits are necessary to be compared with lowland
habitats in order to retain the species on the long

Keywords: Central America, Central American Tapir,
Ecology, National Parks, Protected Areas.


Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) is the largest
Neotropical mammal species and is currently listed as
Endangered (EN A2abcd+3bce) on the 2008 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species (Castellanos et al. 2009).
Although the species is distributed from southern
Mexico to Colombia and Ecuador (Reid 1997), we
know very little about its use of habitat especially in
mountainous areas. Increasingly it is these montane
and/or isolated habitats, which retain the majority of
the last large blocks of forest and where conservation
efforts must focus for the persistence of this and other
area-sensitive species.
In Costa Rica, Baird's tapir once occurred throug-
hout the country but today viable populations remain
only in a few national parks (Mora, 2000). Extensive
surveys in remaining lowland Caribbean forest mosaics
of Costa Rica failed to turn up even a single individual
over a 3 year study (J. Schipper, pers. comm.). The
species requires large areas of intact forests (March &
Naranjo, 2005) and is susceptible to hunting (Emmons,
1999) throughout its range, for sport hunting and for
food (Gonzalez-Maya et al., 2008). These observations
suggest that Baird's tapir is a conservation dependant
species, that is to say that it will likely not persist
without active conservation actions and management.
There are already concerns about its genetic viability
because population sizes are very low and fragmen-
Baird's tapir is herbivorous and is considered an
important disperser and/or predator of seeds, influ-
encing the structure and dynamic of the ecosystems
where they remain (March & Naranjo, 2005). Although
little is known of the species ecology at higher ele-
vations, it has been observed to be associated with
shrubs and especially mountain bamboo (Chusquea
spp.), which is distributed from 0 to 4,300 m in the

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


tropics (Londofio, 1996). Much of the available litera-
ture describes the distribution of this species as being
from sea level to 3,600 m (Reid, 1997); however, there
is very little information on habitat use and relative
abundance above 1,000 m. Naranjo y Vaughan (2000)
reports the presence, by track detection, of the species
at up to 3600 m in Chirrip6 National Park, which is the
highest elevation where the species is known to occur.
The data presented in this study have been obtai-
ned from a regional conservation assessment project
(ProCAT) in the Cordillera Talamanca, among the lar-
gest remaining forest blocks in Central America. Results
described herein were part of an ongoing project to
evaluate the interaction of jaguars with their principal
prey, and the effects of ecological and anthropomorphic
variables on the distribution of threatened species.
This report looks to establish a more complete
description of the elevation distribution and conserva-
tion needs for the species in Mesoamerica and Costa

Materials and Methods

Study Area
The Cordillera Talamanca is located in southern Costa
Rica and extends into western Panama. The range pro-
trudes abruptly from the surrounding lowlands and
is characterized by steep slopes and variety montane
habitats, including cloud forests, elfin forests and para-
mo. The study site (Figure 1) consists of an elevation
transect spanning the Pacific slopes of the Cordillera
Talamanca, from 3600 m in Chirrip6 National Park to
1200 m in Las Alturas de Cot6n Farm in the Las Tablas
Protected Zone. Very little remaining habitat remains
below 1,000 m on the Pacific slopes and thus was not
sampled. In 1982 and 1983, this area was designated
as a Biosphere Reserve (6,126 km2) and as a Human
Natural Heritage Area by UNESCO (Kapelle, 1996). In
addition, the region includes an Endemic Bird Area
(Stattersfield et al. 1998, Harcourt et al., 1996), is a
Center for Plant Diversity (Davis et al., 1997), a Global



Figure I. Map of the study area including sampling sites, protected areas and elevation range.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


200 Ecoregions (Olson & Dinerstein, 2002) and is con-
sidered an important component of the Mesoamerican
Hot Spot (Myers et al., 2000, Mittermeier et al., 2005).
The region is considered one of the most important pro-
tected corridors of forest remaining in Mesoamerica,
has more endemic species than any other part of Costa
Rica (Gonzalez-Maya et al., 2008) and is considered
among the four regions with the highest endemic spe-
cies concentrations in Central America (Jenkins &
Giri, 2008). The region consists of a mosaic of protec-
ted areas, indigenous and private reserves and farms,
and includes the largest Protected Area in Costa Rica,
La Amistad International Park (PILA), which is shared
between Costa Rica and Panama (Gonzalez-Maya &
Mata-Lorenzen, 2008).
The mean annual precipitation is approximately
5,000 mm, generally with a pronounced rainy season
from the end of April to the end of October, and dry
season from November to April (Mora-Carpio, 2000)
with temperatures ranging from 100 C to 270 C and
relative humidity ranging between 80 to 90 % (INBio,
2007). PILA covers 199,147 ha in Costa Rica, and rep-
resents about 28.9% of the Costa Rican national park
system (Gonzalez-Maya et al., 2008). The region still
retains almost 75% of its original forest (DGF 1989)
and approximately 40% is under some kind of formal
protection (Powell et al., 2006).
PILA extends approximately from 500 m on
Caribbean slope, and 1,500 m on pacific slope to
3,820 masl in Chirrip6 National Park. It is characte-
rized by steep slopes, small inter-montane valleys and
is extremely inaccessible which is why it has thus far
escaped exploitation. However, the pressure for land
use change is strong, especially convention from oak
"cloud" forests to pastures and croplands (Kappelle,
1996).Such modifications alter the natural distribution
of the species because of habitat loss and fragmenta-
tion, thus marginalizing the species to higher, inacces-
sible parts of the mountain range. These changes also
resulted in the loss of middle elevation habitats and in
many cases cause species migrations towards higher
altitudes, but also caused local extinctions and isola-
tion between lowland forests habitat (as Corcovado
National Park) and high elevation forests, affecting alti-
tudinal and seasonal migrations of numerous species
(i.e. Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno).
This study focused on three main areas under
different management (control, use restrictions) and
visitation categories (Human presence for tourism,
hunting, harvest, etc.): Valle del Silencio Sector of La
Amistad International Park (PILA), Chirrip6 National
Park (PNCh), Cerro Pittier (CP) a privately owned pro-
perty and Las Tablas Protected Zone (ZPLT) a private
farm dedicated to conservation (Table 1).

Data collection method employed a systematic camera-
trap array survey to estimate presence-absence using
cameras with heat-in-motion sensors (Gonzalez-Maya
et al., 2008). This methodology has been successfully
used for the estimate of relative densities and absolute
abundances of cryptic species, and it has also been
used to estimate relative abundances of other non-
cryptic species, and as a useful tool for detecting rare
or elusive species (Karanth et al. 2004, Maffei et al.,
2002, Maffei et al., 2004).
The aim of this project was to estimate the absolu-
te densities of jaguar and their prey (including tapir)
along an elevation gradient and to estimate the relative
abundance of prey species in the greater Talamanca
Region (surrounding PILA). In addition, camera-trap
surveys were established along different elevations to
estimate the presence of different species for modeling
habitat suitability.
Camera traps were used to collect data on tapir
both incidentally and targeted towards appropriate
habitats and along trails used by the species.
Cameras were active continuously (24 hours) in a
two month period at each site. Each photograph inclu-
des a date and hour stamp, allowing us to estimate the
principal activity patterns, and also to divide the two
months in 60 sampling periods (days), to estimate both
relative and absolute densities of species.
A relative abundance index was built in order to
standardize and compare among sites (Maffei et al.,
2002, Karanth & Nichols, 2002), and the index was
constructed as the number of captures (individuals)
per 1,000 trap nights. Trap nights 24 hour periods
calculated as number of days by number of cameras.
In addition, we characterized every camera area
by slope, distance to water bodies, forest cover, and
vegetation composition using an extrapolation of field
data into a Geographical Information System (GIS).
Camera surveys were carried out in four places, with
systematic arrays of cameras in three of them, and a
presence-absence survey in the other (see Figure 1).


A total trap effort of 2,160 trap-nights were completed
and timing was distributed equally among the four
sites, with arrays of 20 paired cameras in the syste-
matic sites (PILA, CP and ZPLT) and 6 stations for
PNCh for a total of 36 stations.
From a total of 628 pictures at 4 sites, 87 were of
Baird's tapir (Table 2), with a notable high capture
rate for the PILA site. The greatest number pictures
were at PILA at 2,560 m of elevation, on a ridge with

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Table I.
Survey sites,
elevation and

10 degrees of slope dominated by Chusquea sp., with
approximately 80% of forest cover. The distribution of
relative abundance on the elevation gradient was highly
differentiated with a heterogeneous distribution from
lowlands to paramo (Figure 2).
The distribution across the elevation gradient sho-
wed a pattern with an abrupt change as evidenced by
the high abundance in PILA, however, in general terms
it shows a greater abundance in the higher elevations.
For the entire study tapir was the second most abun-
dant species after the American opossum, Didelphis
virginianus, and showed an important relationship
with elevation and slope (Gonzalez-Maya et al., 2008).
In this study, a total of 13 photographs containing
2 or more individuals were captured at PILA, showing
a high number of breeding pairs in the zone, also a
low number of young individuals were captured (15.5
%) compared with the total number of photographed
The distribution showed a marked preference for
low visitation (low human presence) sites, even when
hunting control was not as active as other areas; also,
the site with the highest abundance was the most isola-
ted parts of the park. There was a preference for night
activity with peaks around 1900-2000 hours and 2300-
0000 hours, and no activity during the day (Figure 3).

Table 2.
Total number of
pictures and tapir
pictures and


Conservation planning, site protection and biodiversity
assessment are among of the most important issues
to consider in order to retain biodiversity in tropical
landscapes, however, in many areas even basic infor-
mation on species occurrence and distributions is
lacking. Improving knowledge of species ecology and
distribution can contribute greatly to improved prio-
rity setting for conservation interventions and in park
Tapir appears to have disappeared from both the
Caribbean and Pacific lowlands surrounding PILA,
thus creating a virtual habitat island (Schipper et
al., 2005). This is inferred on the Pacific slope of
Cordillera Talamanca by the lack of any major forest
fragments below 1,000 m and mainly because of its
discontinuity (Cespedes et aL., 2007), and observed on
the Caribbean slope mainly by hunting, habitat loss/
fragmentation and over-exploitation (Schipper, unpub.
Previous studies had reported capture frequencies
for tapir; Noss et al. (2003) with 11-60 ind/1000 trap-
nights in Bolivian dry forests, Wallace et al. (2002)
with 7 ind/1000 trap-nights for Bolivian lowland moist
tropical forest in Madidi, Kelly (under review) with

Total Tapir Relative abundance
Site Frequency
pictures captures (captures/1000 trap-nights)

PILA 99 77 77.78 35.65

PNCh 53 5 9.43 2.31

CP 98 3 3.06 1.39

ZPLT 378 2 0.53 0.93

Total 628 87 13.85 40.28

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009

Site Elevation range (m) Control Human presence

PILA 2400-2800 Passive Low

PNCh 3500- 3800 Active High

CP 1900-2300 Passive Low

ZPLT 800 1200 Active High


12 ind/1000 trap-nights in the rainforest
of Belize for T. bairdii and Holden et al.
(2003) with 4-19 ind/1000 trap-nights
for Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) in
lowland rainforest of Sumatra, Indonesia.
This study documents a range from 0.93
to 35.65 ind/1000 trap-nights, which
represent a high frequency for the species
and for the methodology, especially at the
elevations sampled.
Continued threats in surrounding low-
lands demonstrates the increasing isolation
of populations and a continued retreat of
the species to more remote montane habi-
tats with less human influence and more
continuous habitat or forest. Remaining
suitable montane habitats are also spatially
limited with much of the Cordillera being
extremely steep and broken terrain likely
resulting in a meta-population structure.
Even though the species is reported to be
associated primarily with lowland forests,
the situation in the Cordillera Talamanca
region indicates an emerging problem for
these and other species, where isolation
in upper elevations could represent better
suitable habitats for area-dependent spe-
cies such as tapir.
Based on this analysis, the mountain
forests are not only suitable habitat for the
species, but seem to be preferred habitats
as reflected in the high abundances and
density, likely a result of loss of habitat at
low and middle elevations combined with a
high incidence of hunting. Even in the most
isolated portions of La Amistad National
Park hunting still takes place, which sug-
gests that there is no place left in Costa Rica
where it the tapir can thrive without some
degree of persecution. Additionally, due to
the continued loss of lowland forests and
the increasing exploitation of oak Quercus
forests the future looks bleak for large

mammals in this region unless current and existing
laws are enforced. Where corridors exist between habi-
tat blocks hunting activities often increase because the
corridors often funnel the animals through a human
dominated landscape (Bennet, 2004).
There is some evidence suggesting that tropical
forests species behavior has been shown to change
when they occur in human dominated areas; evidence
suggests that animals abandon the area or change
their activity patterns and habitat use by becoming
more nocturnal and adapt movement patterns to suit
the conditions (Griffiths & van Schaik, 1993). The pre-
sent study reveals that tapirs were mainly nocturnal

1S.00 -

! J 04.

I1 f .




Figure 2. Relative abundance distribution according to elevation.

I ~:

4-q 'I Q 1
A~i #-80

MrOW Purd

Figure 3. Daily activity patterns accumulative throughout
the study.

and highly abundant in areas far from human habita-
tion. This confirms the suggestion that areas with less
human presence represents better suitable habitat for
these and other large mammals (Griffiths & van Schaik,
1993). In fact some changes in the natural history of
tapir have been observed as an adaptation to human
presence such as shifting activity patterns, use of trails
and habitat -density relationships (pers. obs.).
Abundance, elevation distribution and activity
patterns can represent important inputs for conser-
vation planning and for the understanding of species
population dynamics on different environments and
response to hunting, habitat modification and human
presence generally. Specifically for montane regions we

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009

d ---4

8 8%



feel that this data represents a key information to con-
sider during a conservation planning process because
subsequent policies and actions should include ecolo-
gical information to support management decisions. In
addition there is an urgent need for additional support
to the park systems, which is the largest but most
understaffed in the country, to prevent hunting, illegal
logging and mining activities from taking place in the


Feeding habits and diet need further investigation for
tapir in these montane habitats in order to under-
stand the differences with known lowland habitats
(as in Corcovado National Park). Also basic ecology
features such as home range, daily movements and
habitat use must be investigated at higher elevations
as nearly everything that is currently known is derived
from data in lowland areas. The future for long term
conservation of the species, however, must include
these remnant montane habitats which we know next
to nothing about. Provide connectivity and ensure habi-
tat continuity from lowlands to highlands, and within
them, is also one of the current conservation needs for
these conservation-dependant species in the region. We
therefore want to encourage scientist to work towards
filling the data gaps, habitat restoration and landscape
connectivity, so we can effectively plan for their long
term survival.


Special thanks to Edward Jackson and Moises Romero
for their field assistance, Beth Polidoro, Juan Mata
and Gustavo Hernandez for their assistance and help
in the entire project. We want also thank to La Amistad
International Park, MINAE/ACLA-P and Las Alturas
staff for all their help, specially Luis Sanchez, Adrian
Arias, Aguila and Fernando Castafieda. Financial sup-
port was provided by The Nature Conservancy (TNC),
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Jaguar Cars/Ford
Motor Company (Jaguar Conservation Trust), and
CATIE. Also thanks to Diego Zarrate, Sergio Balaguera,
Amancay Cepeda and Mauricio Gonzalez for their com-
ments to the manuscript and editors and reviewers for
their help.


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Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Cerro Negro: An Important Mountain Tapir

Conservation Area in the Piuran Andes,

Piura and Cajamarca States, NW Peru

Craig C. Downer '

I Wildlife Ecologist, President:Andean Tapir Fund
P. 0. Box 456, Minden, Nevada 89423 USA


Local Peruvians along with the Andean Tapir
Fund are working together to establish a nature
sanctuary in the Piuran Cordillera (a.k.a. Cordillera
de las Lagunillas) of NW Peru, but must counter
the designs of large mining companies. The sanctu-
ary would center around Cerro Negro mountain and
be located in both Piura and Cajamarca states. This
area contains Peru's most crucial remaining occup-
ied habitat for the endangered mountain tapir. It
is also in the ecologically significant Huancabamba
Depression, a region of high species endemism that
provides a vital water source for a vast region whose
rivers extend east to the Amazon and west to the
Pacific, to parts of Ecuador as well as Peru. This
sanctuary would provide a biological corridor con-
necting the mountain tapir population here found,
and those of other rare/declining species, by means
of free passage to the north, to Ecuador and bey-

Keywords: Andes, biological corridor, endangered spe-
cies, mining, mountain tapir, nature sanctuary, Peru,


One of the most important reasons populations of
mountain tapirs are decreasing is loss of habitat. This
loss is not localized but widespread, resulting in many
small and unconnected tapir populations, rather than
a few large ones. This problem, known as habitat
fragmentation, is a compounding effect of habitat loss:
the small fragmented populations are, individually,
more susceptible to other causes of extinction,
including catastrophes (e.g., large fires) and foibles
linked to inbreeding depression, such as disease and

genetic drift resulting in fixation of lethal alleles in the
population (Brack Egg & Vargas, 2004).
Fragmentation is a particularly important concern
for the endangered mountain tapir (Tapiruspinchaque),
because this species inhabits ,,natural islands" located
in mid- to high-elevations of the Andes of northern
Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. Loss of habitat at
all elevations within its range has created isolated
,,refuges" of tapir populations restricted to a few small
areas, some higher, some lower (Downer, 1997, 1996).
Hence, one of the most urgent conservation actions
for mountain tapirs is to designate and legally protect
natural corridors that connect the species' known
populations in order to enhance genetic flow. Here I
describe one such important area that has the potential
to connect at least two known populations. I address
what makes this area an important conservation target,
its other conservation values, and potential conflicts
with economic interests the conservation challenge.

The Area

A recent study by biologists Diego Lizcano and Aivi
Sissa (2003) reveals 206,000 hectares of remaining
Andean forest and pdramo (high northern Andean
moorland above the treeline; also Spanish/English
scientific name for this unique biome in the northern
Andes [Davis, 1997]). This is suitable habitat for
the endangered mountain tapir and includes areas
around Cerro Negro, NW Peru, where the Andean
Tapir Fund is proposing to create a nature sanctuary
(see Map 1). A recent WWF-Peru-sponsored evaluation
by biologist Jessica Amanzo et al. (2003) recommends
the conservation of 57,144 hectares as an extension
of the existing 29,500-hectare Tabaconas-Namballe
National Sanctuary (TNNS see Map 2). Including
the WWF-proposed extension of Andean forests and
paramos and more, the proposed Cerro Negro Nature

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Figure I. 57,144 ha Cerro Negro Sanctuary
(dashed line).

Sanctuary would connect TNNS with areas in Ecuador.
This would include areas already identified for reserve
status in the provinces of Ayabaca and Huancabamba,
Piura state, Peru, as well as adjacent areas to the
east in Cajamarca state (or departamento). This
area would be at least 150,000 hectares in size (see
Map 3) and would include all areas recommended by
Lizcano and Sissa (2003), and Amanzo et al. (2003).
Given adequate protection and public cooperation,
the proposed nature reserve could potentially become
a biological corridor of great significance. It would
link tapir populations in both TNNS and Ecuador.
The Andean Tapir Fund is currently working with
northern Peruvian communities, conservationists
and government agencies to legally and professionally
establish this Santuario Natural Cerro Negro (CEPA,

Conservation Value

Workers currently associated with the Andean Tapir
Fund have made several expeditions and numerous
observations in the area of Cerro Negro between
1988 and 2005; and they have also borrowed from
the observations and reports of natives and local
biologists familiar with this region (Downer, 2006,
2005, 2001, 1997, 1996, 1988, 1988-2006,; Zegarra-
Pezo, 2006, 1985-2006). Resulting from these efforts
are extensive species lists for four vertebrate classes
- birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well
as for major classes of plants. These lists contain
annotations as to the degree of endemism and
special conservation status of many of the species,
and demonstrate the high degree of biodiversity and
endemism that render the Cerro Negro area of high
conservation value. Corroborating this, both local, or
alpha, and regional, or beta, diversity were found to be
high in the 57,144-hectare area proposed by WWF-Peru
(Amanzo et al., 2003). Our combined results indicate
that many species are specific to one particular habitat
type of local occurrence, and that the biodiversity of
the region as a whole is extraordinarily high.
For four vertebrate classes, percentages of species
that are threatened with extinction are as follows:
Birds: 23.7%, Mammals: 12.8%, Amphibians:
48.1%, and Reptiles: 57.1%. For these same classes,
percentages of species that are considered endemic
to this region of the Huancabamba Depression are:
Birds: 8%, Mammals: 6.6%, Amphibians: 37%, and
Reptiles: 42.9% (see Table 1) (CEPA, 2006).
The protected corridor in the form of the nature
sanctuary would provide a connection along the
entire northern Andes for the migration and genetic
interchange of such seriously endangered species
as the mountain tapir, the spectacled bear and the
pacarana (both Spanish and English name, Family
Dinomyidae). Furthermore, Cerro Negro is at the heart
of a vital sub-ecoregion lying at the southern limit of
the North Andes Ecoregional Complex. This complex
has been identified as one of the 200 most important
ecoregions in the world by a recently held World Forum
for Nature (Torres-Guevara, 2006, p. 50 ff; see also
Davis et al., 1997).

The Challenge

Around 700,000 hectares in the mountains and
valleys of Piura and Cajamarca states have recently
been tentatively designated to companies as mining
concessions by Peru's national government, pending
environmental assessments. The biggest concession
was to the London-based Monterrico Metals plc, whose

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Table I. Taxonomic/Conservation Categories forAnimal/Plant Species Lists for Proposed Cerro Negro.
Special Conservation Status = Rare,Threatened, Endangered, Restricted Range, Focal Species.

Speie % Endemic Spp % Special Conservation
Taxonomic Category Orders Families Genera Species % Endemic Spp % Specl
(Numbers) Status Spp (Numbers)

Birds 18 42 267 439 8% (35) 24% (104)

Mammals 10 38 142 196 7% (13) 13% (25)

Amphibians 13 27 37% (10) 48% (13)

Reptiles 11 14 43% (6) 57% (8)

Vascular plants, ferns
S67 189 217 3% (7) 7% (16)
& mosses

Peruvian company is Majaz (Downer, 2006). Massive
mining projects are planned in and around the Cerro
Negro mountain area where tens of thousands of
hectares of cloud forest and treeless paramo provide
a last refuge for the endangered mountain tapir
and many other rare, endemic, and/or endangered
species of plants and animals. Monterrico and other
companies have plans to mine copper, molybdenum,
gold, silver and zinc using the ecologically devastating
process of open pit mining combined with heap
leaching using cyanide and other noxious chemicals to
extract the metals from the crushed ore. The rivers at
risk include Rios Chira, Piura, Blanco, and Chipillico,
of which the latter fills the agriculturally important San
Lorenzo Reservoir. Also at risk are the Rio Quiroz,
which fills the equally important Poechos Reservoir,
and the important Rios Huancabamba and Chinchipe.
The latter supplies the only nature reserve in the area,
the 295,000-hectare Santuario Nacional Tabaconas-
Namballe, home to the mountain tapir. The
headwaters of the Rio Quiroz are affected by mining
concessions originally designated for Newmont-USA,
while the headwaters of Rio Chinchipe are seriously
compromised by concessions designated to Monterrico
Metals-Majaz, according to Piuran plant ecologist Fidel
Torres Guevara (2006, 2003).
The millions of tons of waste rock that would be
generated would continue to leach caustic sulfuric
and nitrous acids for generations, releasing heavy
metals that become incorporated into the food chain.
The livelihoods of many thousands of peasants and
townsfolk would be negatively impacted, as would
Peru's 231,402-hectare Man and the Biosphere Site
(El Nor-Oeste Sp.) to the northwest. Many Peruvian
laws should prohibit these mining activities, including
those prohibiting the devastation of endangered
species such as the mountain tapir, watersheds and the

compromising of national security and the very welfare
of future generations.
Due to imminent disappearance of glaciers from
the Andes of Peru (as elsewhere), this nation's remnant
forests and paramos have become all the more vital
to the future of agricultural production in the Andes;
and there is no more important region of forest and
paramo in Peru than that now jeopardized by the
mining concessions here in question (Appenzeller,
2007; Torres-Guevara, 2006, 2003).
Though appropriate habitat for 350-375 mountain
tapirs was estimated to exist in 2003 for northern Peru
(Lizcano & Sissa, 2003), due to uncontrolled hunting
combined with habitat destruction, it is estimated that
only about half this number still survive (Lizcano et
al, in press). If Monterrico-Majaz' Rio Blanco and
other pending mining projects are allowed to proceed,
a final death blow could be dealt to that ecologically
important seed disperser and ancient living fossil in
Peru known variously as danta negra, gran bestia,
and ,,Ah-Ha!" for the sound it emits when surprised,
i.e. the mountain tapir (Downer, 2001, 1997, 1996).
The nationally promoted Rio Blanco mining
project was rejected by 95% in a referendum by
local communities (ENS, 2007), whose citizens
cited among their reasons the preservation of the
endangered mountain tapir. However, preliminary
exploration in the project area has already caused
significant ecological damage, according to a study by
the University of Texas at Austin. This study projects
very serious threats should the planned 1,000-hectare
open pit mine proceed (Salazar, 2007). Though ca.
500 local jobs for several years might result, the true
price that future generations would pay in terms
of long-term sustainability, general water supply,
ecological integrity and general quality of life would
prove devastating (Appenzeller, 2007). It should

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


finally be mentioned that this natural Andean region
is culturally important as a center of folk healing and
spiritual refreshment (Downer, 2006). Currently (7/
2009) a General Assembly of Andean communities is
being organized where a map of the future sanctuary
should be collectively defined and approved and a vote
taken on whether or not to democratically establish
this unique and crucially important nature reserve.


The author wishes to thank the Municipality of Ayabaca,
Piura, Peru; CEPA of France, ZGAP of Germany, The
Plant Family Environmental Fund, Dr. Jaime Cavalier
& The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation as well as his
parents: Robert Carpenter Downer & Alice Gottschalk
Downer for providing permission and/or support to the
Andean Tapir Fund for this project.


Amanzo, J. et al. 2003 (December). Evaluacion Biologica
Rapida del Santuario Nacional Tabaconas Namballe.
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Appenzeller, T. 2007 (June). The Big Thaw. National
Geographic. Pp. 56-71. Washington, D.C.
Brack Egg, A. & Vargas, C. M.. 2004. Ecologia del Peru.
Editorial Bruno, Lima. (495 pp).
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2006 (Dec.). Project de creation d'une aire protegee pour
le tapir de montagne dans le nord-oest du Perou. CEPA
Magazine No. 15. Pp 14-15. Fresnes, France.
Cavelier, J., Lizcano, D. Yerena, E. & Downer,.C. In press. The
mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) and Andean bear
(Tremarctos ornatus): the two largest mammals in South
American tropical montane cloud forests. Proceedings:
,,Mountains in the Mist' conference on cloud forests of the
world organized by University of Hawaii, Waimea, Hawaii.
July-Aug, 2004.
Davis, S.D., Heywood, VH., Herrera-MacBryde, O., Villa-
Lobos, J. & Hamilton, A.C. 1997. Centres of Plant
Diversity: A Guide and Strategy for their Conservation.
Volume 3: The Americas. WWF & IUCN. See Pp. 465-469,
Huancabamba Region, Peru & Ecuador, (Tropical) Andes:
CPD Site SA32. IUCN Publications Unit. Cambridge, U.K.
(562 pp.)
Downer, C. C. 1988-2006. Field reports with descriptive
species lists. Files of Andean Tapir Fund, PO. Box 456,
Minden, NV 89423 USA
Downer, C. C. 1988. Peruvian Mountain Tapir Trip Reports
with Species Lists. April & August. Unpublished
manuscripts. University of. Durham-UK (Department of
Biology). April: Report: 21 pp, Species list: 5 pp; August:
Report: 27 pp, Species list: 5 pp.
Downer, C. C. 1996. The mountain tapir, endangered
'flagship" species of the high Andes. Oryx 30(1): 45-58.

Downer, C. C. 1997. Status and Action Plan for the Mountain
Tapir (Tapirus pinchaque).In: Tapirs: Status Survey and
Conservation Action Plan (D.M. Brooks, R.E. Bodmer,
S.M. Matola, Eds.). IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group,
Gland, Switzerland.
Downer, C. C. 2001. Observations on the diet and habitat
of the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque). Journal of
Zoology, London 254:279-291.
Downer, C. C. 2005 (December). Agonia de los Tapires de
Montafia/Agony of the Mountain Tapirs. Rumbos de
Sol y Piedra, Afo IX, No. 44, pages 34-48, with color
photographs. (Bilingual).
Downer, C. C. 2006 (Febr. 6). INSIGHTS: Mining Peru's
Andean Forests Puts Unique Species, Ecosystem at
Risk. Environment News Service: http://www.ens-
Duellman, WE. & Wild, .E.R. 1993. Anuran amphibians
from the Cordillera de Huancabamba, northern Peru:
systematics, ecology, and biogeography. Occasional.
Papers: Museum of Natural History, University of.
Kansas 157:1-53.
ENS (Environment News Service) 2007 (10/10/07). Peruvians
Vote 95% to Save Andean Forests from Mining. www.ens-
IUCN. 1996/2002. 1996/2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened
Animals. IUCN, Gland Switzerland.
Lizcano, D. J. & Sissa, A.. 2003 (June). Notes on the
Distribution and Conservation Status of Mountain Tapir
(Tapirus pinchaque) in North Peru. Tapir Conservation,
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Commission, Tapir Specialist Group.
Parker III, T.A., Schulenberg, T.S., Graves, G.R. & Braun,
M..J.. 1985. The avifauna of the Huancabamba region,
northern Peru. Ornithological Monographs 36:169-197.
Ridgely, R.S. & Tudor, G. 1989. Volume I: The Oscine
Passerines. The Birds of South America. University of
Texas Press, Austin. (516 pp.).
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Texas Press, Austin. (814 pp.).
Salazar, M. 2007 (Sept. 12). Peru: Mining Project
Hurting Highland Ecosystem.
print.asp?idnews =39233
Torres-Guevara, F. 2003. Mineria Metalica bajo El Nifo en
Piura: Injustificado Riesgo para su Vida y Desarrollo.
Colectivo Piura, Vida y Agro "Godofredo Garcia Baca",
Piura, Peru. (174 pp.)
Torres-Guevara, F. 2006. Escenario de Riesgo para el Agua y
la Biodiversidad: Pretension de mineria metalica en las
cuencas del norte del Peru. Colectivo Piura, Vida y Agro
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of Cordillera de las Lagunillas. Files: Pro-Norte Peru,
Sullana, Piura, Peru.
Zegarra-Pezo, A. A. 2006. Lista Preliminar de Especies de
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Piura, Peru. Unpublished manuscript. Andean Tapir
Fund-US. 33 pp.

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009




C currently, the TSG has 116 members, including
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).

PERHILITAN Bukit Rengit, Krau Wildlife Reserve
E-mail: cobra7512081

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

D.VM. Gerente de Operaciones, Fundaci6n Parque
Zool6gico Metropolitano del Zulia

ANGELL, GILIA (United States)
Senior Designer,

Biol6go, Researcher, Grupo de Mastozoologica-CTUA,
Institute de Biologia, Universidad de Antioquia
E-mail: andresarias3

M.Sc. Bi6logo, Investigador de Vida Silvestre, WCS Wildlife
Conservation Society, Northern La Paz Living Landscape

BARONGI, RICK (United States)
Director, Houston Zoo Inc.
Former Chair / Member, Association of Zoos & Aquariums
(AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)

BAUER, KENDRA (United States)
Ph.D. Graduate Student, University of Texas at Austin
Integrative Biology, 1 University Station

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

BENEDETTI, ADRIAN (Republic of Panama)
Director, Protected Areas and Wildlife, Republic of Panama

General Curator / Jefe de Fauna, Parque Zoologico Recreacional

D.VM. Mountain Tapir Project Colombia (Diego Lizcano)

D.VM. Director T6cnico, Fundaci6n Nacional de Parques
Zool6gicos e Acuarios (FUNPZA) Ministerio del Ambiente

BODMER, RICHARD E. (United Kingdom)
Ph.D. Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation, Durrell
Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE),
University of Kent
E-mail: R.Bodmer(

Rafiki Safari Lodge

BROWN, QUINN (United States)
San Francisco Zoo

Coordinador de Vida Silvestre, Sistema Nacional de
Areas de Conservaci6n, Ministerio del Ambiente y Energia
E-mail: joaquin.calvo

Coordinator, Dry Forest Conservation and Development
Initiative, The Nature Conservancy / Fundaci6n Natura
Associate Researcher, Fundaci6n Ecuatoriana de Estudios
Ecol6gicos EcoCiencia

Coordinador de Proyectos Ambientales, Asociaci6n Meralvis
E-mail: carbon

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


M.Sc. Coordinador de Conservaci6n de Sitios, Guyra

Director, Andean Bear Project, Fundaci6n Espiritu del

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 Austin


M.Sc. Researcher, Instituto de Historia Natural y Ecologia

Ph.D. Departamento de Ecologia de los Recursos Naturales,
Institute de Ecologia, UNAM

DEE, MICHAEL (United States)

Investigadora Asociada, Instituto de Investigaciones
Cientificas Avanzadas y Servicios de Alta Tecnologia

Assistant Director, ZooParc de Beauval
Lowland Tapir Studbook Keeper, European Association
of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group
E-mail: aude.desmoulins

DINATA, YOAN (Indonesia)
Assistant Director, ZooParc de Beauval
Field Manager, Fauna & Flora International Indonesia

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


Michelin Brasil
E-mail: kevinmflesher(

FLOCKEN, JEFFREY (United States)
Director of Washington DC Office, International Fund for
Animal Welfare

Licenciado, Investigador, Centro de Estudios
Conservacionistas, Universidad de San Carlos de

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

GEMITA, ELVA (Indonesia)
Field Manager, Fauna & Flora International /
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE)

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

GOFF, DON (United States)
Assistant Director, Beardsley Zoological Gardens
Lowland Tapir Studbook Keeper, Association of Zoos &
Aquariums (AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)

Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Unit of Biology and
Physical Geography, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and
University of British Columbia Okanagan

GREENE, LEWIS (United States)
Assistant Director, Columbus Zoo,

El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)
Unidad San Cristobal De Las Casas

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

HANDRUS, ELLIOT (United States)

D.VM. Adjunct Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine,
University of Georgia

HOLDEN, JEREMY (Indonesia)
Photographer, Flora and Fauna International
E-mail:; jeremy_
holden 1

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


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 Network
Chair, European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)
Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)

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

Ph.D. Coordinador, Reserva Experimental Horco Molle
Universidad National de Tucuman, Facultad de Ciencias

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

D.VM. Scientific Director, Fundaci6n Nativa

Ph.D. Technical Advisor, Division of Research and
Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP)

D.VM. M.Sc. Subdirector de Salud Animal, Direcci6n
Tecnica y de Investigaci6n (DGZVSDF), Zool6gico de
E-mail: ilira

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

Ph.D Post-Doctoral Researcher, CIES-ISCTE
Centro de Biologia Animal, Departamento de Biologia
Animal, Faculdade de Ciencias, Universidade de Lisboa

LYNAM, ANTONY (Thailand)
Ph.D. Associate Conservation Scientist & Regional Advisor,
Wildlife Conservation Society Asia Program

D.VM. M.Sc. Associated Researcher, Lowland Tapir
Conservation Initiative, IPE Instituto de Pesquisas
Ecol6gicas (Institute for Ecological Research)
Scientific Coordinator, Vida Livre Medicina de Animais

Team Leader, Flora and Fauna International

Director, Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center

MAY JR, JOARES A. (Brazil)
D.VM. Wildlife Veterinarian
M.Sc. Student, University of Sao Paulo (USP)
IPE Instituto de Pesquisas Ecol6gicas (Institute for
Ecological Research)

M.Sc. Wildlife Ecology, Conservation and Management
Research Coordinator, Lowland Tapir Conservation
IPE Instituto de Pesquisas Ecol6gicas (Institute for
Ecological Research)
Ph.D. Candidate, Durrell Institute of Conservation and
Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, United Kingdom
E-mail:; skype: patricia.medici

MENDOZA, ALBERTO (United States)
D.VM. Member, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)

MOLLINEDO, MANUEL A. (United States)
Director, San Francisco Zoological Gardens

Ph.D. Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL)

MORALES, MIGUEL A. (Paraguay / United States)
Ph.D. Protected Areas Management Advisor
People, Protected Areas and Conservation Corridors,
Conservation International (CI)

Ph.D. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)

Institute Ecuatoriano de Propiedad Intelectual (IEPI)
Professor, Escuela de Gesti6n Ambiental de la Universidad
Tecnica Particular de Loja

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

NUGROHO, AGUNG (Indonesia)
Field Team Leader / Field Researcher, Fauna & Flora
International Indonesia Program

O'FARRILL, GEORGINA XoXo (Mexico / Canada)
Ph.D. Graduate Student, Biology Department, McGill
ECOSUR-Chetumal, Mexico

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Coordinator, Proyecto Corredores de Conservaci6n,
Fundaci6n Ecol6gica Arcoiris

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

Institute de Investigaci6n de Recursos Biol6gicos von Humboldt>

POOT, CELSO (Belize)
Education Director, The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education

Animal Curator, Taman Safari Indonesia
International Studbook Keeper, Malayan Tapirs
E-mail:; amicurator@tamansafari

PRIATNA, DOLLY (Indonesia)
Project Co-Manager, ZSL Indonesia c/o WCS Indonesia

Ph.D. Ungulate Biologist, Smithsonian National Zoological
Conservation & Research Center,

D.VM. Coordinator, TSG Zoo Committee
E-mail: vivianaquse(

M.Sc. Fundaci6n Wii

Ph.D. Direction Etudes et Recherches
ONCFS Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune
Sauvage (National Hunting Wildlife Agency)

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

Director, Zoocriadero de Dantas La Marina

ROMAN, JOSEPH (United States)
Curator, Virginia Zoological Park
Baird's Tapir Studbook Keeper, Association of Zoos &
Aquariums (AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)

RUBIANO, ASTRITH (Colombia / United States)
University of Connecticut / Conservation and Research
Center, Smithsonian Institution, Natural Resources

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 Inc

SALAS, LEONARDO (United States)
Ph.D. Animal Population Biologist, Post-Doctoral Fellow,
Redwood Sciences Laboratory

Vice-President, Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF)

Program de P6s-Graduaqao em Ecologia e Conservaq~o,
Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS)
E-mail: luissandoval79-'. gnail :o11

M.Sc. Ciencias, Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL)
Member, IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG)
E-mail:; adriana-

D.VM. M.Sc. Genetics & Animal Improvement
Departamento de Gen6tica e Melhoramento Animal,
Universidade Estadual de Sao Paulo (UNESP)

SCHWARTZ, KARIN (United States)
M.Sc. Animal Behavior, Ph.D. Candidate, Conservation
George Mason University, FairFAX, VA, United States
Biological Database Manager, Chicago Zoological Society -
Brookfield Zoo
Registrar Advisor, Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)
Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)
Member, IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
Member, IUCN/SSC Re-Introduction Specialist Group (RSG)

President, Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

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

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009


Curador General, Parque Zool6gico de Le6n
Miembro, Asociaci6n de Zool6gicos, Criaderos y Acuarios
de Mexico (AZCARM)
Coordinador, Programa de Recuperaci6n de Especies del
Tapir Centroamericano de AZCARM, MEXICO

SHEWMAN, HELEN (United States)
Collection Manager, Woodland Park Zoo

SHOEMAKER, ALAN H. (United States)
Permit Advisor, Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)
Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)

SMITH, DIORENE (Republic of Panama)
D.VM. Parque Municipal Summit

STAHL, TIM (United States)
Owner, Stahl Photographics
E-mail: timll

STANCER, MICHELE (United States)
Animal Care Manager, San Diego Zoological Society
Chair, Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Tapir Taxon
Advisory Group (TAG)
Malayan Tapir Studbook Keeper, Association of Zoos &
Aquariums (AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG)

Jardin Botanico, Universidad Tecnol6gica de Pereira

Centro Tecnol6gico de Recursos Amaz6nicos de la
Organizaci6n de Pueblos Indigenas de Pastaza (OPIP) -

THOISY, BENOIT DE (French Guiana)
D.VM. Ph.D. Kwata Association
E-mail: ihoil\-,. nplu g2f.

TOBLER, MATHIAS (Peru / United States)
Ph.D. Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program,
Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT)
E-mail: matobler

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

Departamento de Educaci6n, Zool6gico de Quito, Ecuador

Ph.D. Research Coordinator, Malayan Tapir Project,
Krau Wildlife Reserve, Copenhagen Zoo

UNDERDOWN, POLLY (United Kingdom / Costa Rica)
Rafiki Safari Lodge

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

Ph.D. Associate Professor, Botany Department,
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Ph.D. Associate Conservation Ecologist,
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Madidi

Ph.D. Private Consultant
E-mail: kdwilliams56(

General Curator, Belize Zoo
E-mail:; humbertowohlers@yaho

Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks

ZAVADA, JEANNE (United States)
Director, East Tennessee State University Natural History

ZAVADA, MICHAEL (United States)
Ph.D. Professor & Chairman, Department of Biological
East Tennessee State University


Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009




The Tapir Conservation, the Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir
Specialist Group aims to provide information regarding all aspects of
tapir natural history. Items of news, recent events, recent publicati-
ons, thesis abstracts, workshop proceedings etc concerning tapirs are
welcome. Manuscripts should be submitted in MSWord (.doc, at this
moment we cannot accept documents in .docx format).

The Newsletter will publish original work by:

Scientists, wildlife biologists, park managers and other con-
tributors on any aspect of tapir natural history including
distribution, ecology, evolution, genetics, habitat, husbandry,
management, policy and taxonomy.

Preference is given to material that has the potential to improve
conservation management and enhances understanding of tapir con-
servation in its respective range countries.
The primary languages of the Newsletter are English and Spanish.
Abstracts in English are preferred.

Papers and Short Communications

Full Papers (2,000-5,000 words) and Short Communications (200-
2,000 words) are invited on topics relevant to the Newsletter's focus,

Research on the status, ecology or behaviour of tapirs.
Research on the status or ecology of tapir habitats, including
soil composition, mineral deposits (e.g., salt licks) and topo-
Husbandry and captive management.
Veterinarian and genetic aspects.
Reviews of conservation plans, policy and legislation.
Conservation management plans for species, habitats or
Tapirs and local communities (e.g., hunting, bush meat and
cultural aspects).
Research on the ecological role of tapir, for example, seed
dispersers, prey for predators and facilitators of forest re-
Natural history and taxonomy of tapirs (e.g., evolution, pala-
eontology and extinction).

How to Submit a Manuscript
Manuscripts should be submitted in electronic format by e-mail to
the contributions editor at the email provided. Hard copies will not
be accepted.
Contributions Editor:
Carl Traeholt

In the covering e-mail, the Lead Author must confirm that:
a) the submitted manuscript has not been published

b) all of the authors have read the submitted manuscript and
agreed to its submission,
all research was conducted with the necessary approval
and permit from the appropriate authorities and adhere to
appropriate animal manipulation guides.

Review and Editing

All contributors are strongly advised to ensure that their spelling and
grammar is checked by native English or Spanish speakers) before
the manuscript is submitted to the Contributions Editor.The Editorial
Team reserves the right to reject manuscripts that are poorly writ-

All manuscripts will be subject to peer review by a minimum of two
reviewers. Authors are welcome to suggest appropriate reviewers;
however, the Contributions Editor reserves the right to appoint
reviewers that seem appropriate and competent for the task.

Proofs will be sent to authors as a portable document format (PDF)
file attached to an e-mail note. Corrected proofs should be returned
to the Editor within 3 days of receipt. Minor corrections can be com-
municated by e-mail.

The Editorial Team welcomes contributions to the other sections of
the Newsletter:

Concise reports (<300 words) on news of general interest to tapir
research and conservation.This may include announcements of new
initiatives; for example, the launch of new projects, conferences, fun-
ding opportunities, new relevant publications and discoveries.

Letters to the Editor
Informative contributions (<650 words) in response to material pub-
lished in the Newsletter.

Preparation of Manuscripts

Contributions in English should make use of UK English spelling [if
in doubt, Microsoft Word and similar software can be set to check
spelling and grammar for "English (UK)" language]. The cover page
should contain the title and full mailing address, e-mail address and
address of the Lead Author and all additional authors. All pages
should be numbered consecutively, and the order of the sections of
the manuscript should be: cover page, main text, acknowledgement,
tables, figures and plates.

This should be a succinct description of the work, in no more than
20 words.

Full Papers only. This should describe, in 100-200 words, the aims,
methods, major findings and conclusions. It should be informative and

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009



intelligible without reference to the text, and should not contain any
references or undefined abbreviations.

Up to five pertinent words, in alphabetical order.

For ease of layout, please submit all manuscripts with a minimum of
formatting (e.g. avoid specific formats for headings etc); however, the
following is needed:

Manuscripts should be double-spaced.
Submissions can be in'doc,'rtf' or'wpd' format, preferably
as one file attached to one covering email.
Avoid writing headlines in CAPITAL letters.
Font type and size should be Times New Roman # 12
Font type for tables should be Arial and 0.5 dot lines.
I inch (2.54 cm) margins for all margins
Number pages consecutively starting with the title page ,
numbers should be on the bottom right hand corner
Font type for tables should be Arial and 0.5 dot lines.
Pictures and illustrations should be in as high resolution as
possible to allow for proper downscaling and submitted as
separate files in EPS or JPG format.

References should be cited in the text as, for example, MacArthur &
Wilson (1967) or (Foerster, 1998). For three or more authors use the
first author's surname followed by et al.; for example, Herrera et al.
(1999). Multiple references should be in chronological order.The refe-
rence list should be in alphabetical order, and article titles and the titles
of serial publications should be given in full. In cases where an author
is referenced multiple times the most recent publication should be
listed first. Please check that all listed references are used in the text
and vice versa.The following are examples of house style:

Journal Article
Herrera, J.C., Taber, A.,Wallace, R.B. & Painter, L. 1999. Lowland tapir
(Tapirus terrestris) behavioral ecology in a southern Amazonian tropi-
cal forest. Vida Silv.Tropicale 8:3 1-37.

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

MacArthur, R.H. &Wilson, E.O. (1967) The Theory of Island Biogeography.
Princeton University Press, Princeton, USA.

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.

IUCN (2007) 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Http:// [accessed I May 2009].

Tables, figures and plates
These should be self-explanatory, each on a separate page and with
an appropriate caption. Figures should be in black and white. Plates
will only be included in an article if they form part of evidence that
is integral to the subject studied (e.g., a camera-trap photograph of a
rare situation), if they are of good quality, and if they do not need to
be printed in colour.

Species names
The first time a species is mentioned, its scientific name should fol-
low without intervening punctuation: e.g., Malay tapir Tapirus indicus.
English names should be in lower case throughout except where they
incorporate a proper name (e.g.,Asian elephant, Malay tapir).

Full expansion should be given at first mention in the text.

Units of measurement
Use metric units only for measurements of area, mass, height, distance

The copyright for all published articles will be held by the publisher
unless otherwise stated.

IUCN Tapir Specialist Group



Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009



Patricia Medici, Brazil

Steering Committee
Alan Shoemaker, United States
Alberto Mendoza, Mexico/United States
Anders Gongalves da Silva, Canada
Bengt Hoist, Denmark
Carl Traeholt, Denmark/Malaysia
Diego Lizcano, Colombia
GiliaAngell, United States
Jeffrey Flocken, United States
Kelly Russo, United States
Mathias Tobler, Switzerland/Peru
Michael Dee, United States
Michele Stancer, United States
Olga Montenegro, Colombia
Rick Schwartz, United States
Viviana Quse,Argentina

Baird's Tapir Coordinator
Manolo Garcia, Guatemala

Lowland Tapir Coordinator
Viviana Beatriz Quse, Argentina

Malayan Tapir Coordinator
Carl Traeholt, Denmark/Malaysia

Mountain Tapir Coordinator
Diego J. Lizcano, Colombia

Red List Authority
Red List Focal Point: Alan H. Shoemaker, United States
TSG Species Coordinators /TSG Country Coordinators

Tapir Conservation Newsletter Editors
Contributions Editor: Carl Traeholt, Malaysia
Layout & Distribution Editors:
Stefan Seitz, Germany / Kelly J. Russo, United States

Virtual Library Manager
Mathias Tobler, United States/Peru

Fundraising Committee Coordinator
Patricia Medici, Brazil

Action Planning Committee Coordinator
(National Action Plans)
Patricia Medici, Brazil /TSG Country Coordinators

Action Plan Implementation Taskforce
Coordinator: Patricia Medici, Brazil
Focal Point(s) Lowland Tapir: Olga Montenegro,
Juliana Rodriguez, Benoit de Thoisy
Focal Point(s) Baird's Tapir: Kendra Bauer
Focal Point(s) Mountain Tapir: Carlos Pedraza

Focal Point(s) Malayan Tapir:
Carl Traeholt, Zainal Zahari Zainuddin
Focal Point(s) Ex-Situ Conservation:
Viviana Quse (Lowland Tapir), Nanda Kumaren (Malayan Tapir),
Alberto Mendoza (Baird's Tapir)
Focal Point(s) Marketing & Education: Kelly Russo

Zoo Committee Coordinator
Viviana Beatriz Quse,Argentina

Veterinary Committee Coordinator
Javier Adolfo Sarria Perea, Colombia/Brazil

Genetics Committee Coordinators
Anders Gongalves da Silva, Canada / Cristina Luis, Portugal

Marketing & Education Committee Coordinators
Gilia Angell, United States / Kelly J. Russo, United States

Kara Masharani, United States
GiliaAngell, United States

Re-Introduction & Translocation Advisory
Committee Coordinators
Patricia Medici, Brazil / Anders Gongalves da Silva, Canada

Ethics Committee

Evolution Consultant
Matthew Colbert, United States

Country Coordinators
South America
Argentina: Silvia Chalukian
Bolivia: GuidoAyala
Brazil: Patricia Medici
Colombia: Olga Montenegro, Juliana Rodriguez
Ecuador: Leonardo Ord6hez Delgado, Fernando Nogales
Guiana Shield (French Guyana, Guiana and Suriname):
Benoit de Thoisy
Paraguay: Jose Luis Cartes
Peru: Mathias Tobler
Venezuela: in the process of identifying a coordinator
Central America
Belize: in the process of identifying a coordinator
Costa Rica: in the process of identifying a coordinator
Guatemala: Jose Roberto Ruiz Fuamagalli
Honduras: Nereyda Estrada Andino
Mexico: Epigmenio Cruz Aldin
Nicaragua: in the process of identifying a coordinator
Panama: in the process of identifying a coordinator
Southeast Asia
Indonesia: Wilson Novarino
Malaysia: Zainal Zahari Zainuddin
Myanmar: Antony Lynam

Tapir Conservation a The Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group a Vol. 18/1 0 No. 25 0 June 2009

Tapir Conservation

The Newsletter of theTapirSpeci.a t Grou

Volume 18/1 U No. 25 U June 2009

I~ Cotet

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

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

From the Chair .............................................. .. 3

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

Spotlight ......................................... ............ 4

The Tapir Research Spotlight ............................... 4

Science ........................................... ............ 6

Abstracts of Dissertations and Theses ................. 6

Contributions ......................................... ..... 7

Lowland Tapirs in the Nhecolandia Region of the
Brazilian Pantanal: Population Density, Habitat Use
and Threats
Arnaud Leonard Jean Desbiez ............................ 7

Population Estimates of Malay Tapir, Tapirus indicus,
by Camera Trapping in Krau Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia
Carl Traeholt and Mohd. Sanusi bin Mohamed....... 12

Ticks of New World Tapirs
Marcelo B. Labruna and Alberto A. Guglielmone..... 21

Elevational Distribution and Abundance of Baird's Tapir
(Tapirus bairdii) at different Protection Areas in
Talamanca Region of Costa Rica
Jos6 F. Gonzalez-Maya, Jan Schipper,
Karla Rojas-Jim6nez ....................................... 29

Cerro Negro: An important Mountain Tapir
Conservation Area in the Piuran Andes,
Piura and Cajamarca States, NW Peru
Craig C. Downer ............................................ 36

Tapir Specialist Group Members ................. 38

Instructions for Authors .............................. 45

Tapir Specialist Group Structure ................. 47

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