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Friday Creature Feature: The Tapir
Lowland tapirs, like the yaks featured last week, are making a comeback due to conservation efforts. The tapir is still listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List though and are still affected by habitat loss and low reproductive rate: a single birth every 2-3 years and they only live for about 30 years.
Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Study looked at the tapir population in a network of five remote national parks along the border of northwestern Bolivia and southeastern Peru in South America. Using a combination of camera traps, interviews with park guards, and subsistence hunters, the researchers estimated at least 14,500 lowland tapirs in the region.
Camera trapping at the Tuichi River indicated that populations have been recovering after the creation of Madidi National Park (formerly a favorite hunting ground), the home of the rare and adorable Oncilla, in 1995.
“The Madidi-Tambopata landscape is estimated to hold a population of at least 14,500 lowland tapirs making it one of the most important strongholds for lowland tapir conservation in the continent," said Robert Wallace, the study’s lead author. "These results underline the fundamental importance of protected areas for the conservation of larger species of wildlife threatened by hunting and habitat loss."
Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) are “Latin America's most charismatic terrestrial wildlife species” and not to mention weird-looking. Stocky and close to the ground, they look like the resulting offspring would be if a pig and rhino mated- but with no horn. They are cute in that hideous way animals sometimes are.
The adult tapir is mostly unremarkable in color save for a demarcation between its brown body and paler face. Its dark ears have white edges that appear to be a left over detail from the distinctive markings young tapirs have: whitish stripes and dashes.
Unlike other tapirs this one has a mane or crest like a short mohawk that starts at the crown of its head and lines the entire back of its neck. They also have stubby tails.
The tapir is between 6 to 8 feet in length and their average weight is about 500 pounds but they could be up to 710 pounds. Despite their size they are quick-footed and excellent swimmers and divers. The lowland tapir is the largest terrestrial mammal in South America.
They live in forests and grasslands where they forage for leaves and fruit with their trunk. Tapirs prefer to look for food at night and rest or hide during the day; sounds like my kind of animal.
1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.
1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.
2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.