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There are five species of tapir around the world one in South East Asia and four in the Americas, since I’ve been lucky enough to have seen three of them I thought I’d start a tapir thread. So if you have any photos or videos of any of the following species please add them to this thread. Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) Is the largest and perhaps oddest looking species with its distinctive black & white colouration, this rainforest species is distributed along the Tenasserim Mts. from the borders of south eastern Burma and south west Thailand south along the Malay Peninsula and on the neighbouring island of Sumatra in Indonesia. There are no confirmed records from elsewhere in the region, it’s sometimes suggested that this species once occurred in Cambodia, southern Laos and southern Vietnam and is now extinct there; however the forests where tapirs were reputed to occur are too dry to support this species. They’ve never been reported from the wetter forests of the Annamite Mts. on the Laos/Vietnam border where tapirs could survive so it’s likely that the species was never found in any of these countries in recent historical times. Range map Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) This species is the largest of the American tapirs and the largest native mammal in Central America where it is distributed from southern Mexico south to the far North West of Colombia west of the Andes in South America. Range map Mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) This small species also known as the woolly or Andean Tapir is found in cloud forests between 2000 and 4000 metres, alpine meadows and páramo grassland in the northern Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and a very small area of northern Peru. It has disappeared from the north of Colombia and may once have occurred over the border in western Venezuela but if it did it’s extinct there now. Range map Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) Also known as the Brazilian tapir this species is found throughout lowland tropical South America east of the Andes Range map Kabomani tapir (Tapirus kabomani) This the smallest of the five species is also known as the little black tapir, remarkably this species found in the Amazon in southern Colombia and southwestern Brazil was only recognised in 2013. Despite the fact that native Amerindian peoples in this region have always known that there are two distinct tapir species, not only that but Theodore Roosevelt on one of his hunting trips to Brazil back in 1912 shot one. At the time he believed that the animal he’d shot was different to any of the lowland tapirs that he had previously shot, that the skull in particular was noticeably different and that it was probably a new species as he was aware that the natives recognised two species. However the American Museum of Natural History in New York where this specimen still resides disagreed and decided that Roosevelt’s tapir was just another lowland tapir. Throughout the 20th Century zoologists continued to ignore the views of Amerindian hunters that there were two distinct tapir species in lowland South America. It wasn’t until this century when Brazilian palaeontologist Mario Cozzuol started to really examine tapir skulls that it became apparent that the Amerindians and Roosevelt were right. Scientists make one of the biggest animal discoveries of the century - a new tapir
After starting a thread on Tapirs I noticed that there wasn’t one for their principal predator in Central and South America the majestic jaguar and thought it was time to start one as there are already threads on most of the other big cats. Sometime ago I did have ago through my jaguar photos comparing their rosette patterns to some of the jaguars in other member’s reports but didn’t find any that matched. Perhaps if enough photos are added to this thread I will have another go and actually find that others who’ve been to Brazil have in fact photographed the same jaguars that I have, or at least that the same jaguars appear in more than one report. If you have any photos or videos of jaguars please add them to this thread. The jaguar (Panthera onca) largest of the New World cats once ranged from Uruguay in the south as far north as the U.S. state of Colorado but past hunting for skins, relentless persecution by livestock farmers and major habitat destruction has severely reduced and fragmented their range. They’re now extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador and although occasional itinerant males have been seen in Arizona jaguars are no longer breeding in the USA. The barriers being put up along the US/Mexican border in the form of walls and fences to keep out two legged immigrants from Central America will obviously also keep out the four legged kind. So even if proper protection allows the population of jaguars in Sonora in the north of Mexico to expand they will not be able to recolonise the US if they can’t cross the border. It’s very unlikely that any attempt will be made to reintroduce jaguars so it will be a long time before they’re back breeding in the US if at all. Interestingly if you zoom in on this Range Map there are several spots shown in Arizona you can also see just how close the most northerly Mexican population is to the border. Here’s a link to the Northern Jaguar Project who are striving to protect these jaguars in Northern Jaguar Reserve in Sonora. Jaguars are generally very elusive animals so throughout most of their range they are very difficult to see, though they are seen reasonably often in the Manu area of Peru, the Iwokrama Forest in Guyana and in the Llanos of Venezuela and very occasionally in parts of Costa Rica like Corcovado NP. There is however one area where you can be reasonably certain of seeing them, the Brazilian Pantanal specifically along the Rio Cuiaba and Rio Paraguai, if you really want to see wild jaguars then this part of Brazil has to be you’re first port of call. My report Brazil, Birds, Beasts and Big Waters along with other Brazil trip reports and the photos in this thread should show just how great this region is for Jaguar sightings.
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