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.
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.
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.
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.
Also known as the Brazilian tapir this species is found throughout lowland tropical South America east of the Andes
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.
Edited by inyathi, 31 July 2014 - 07:34 PM.