One of the challenges that we - "we" being the small group of WTD volunteers - faces is deciding what we communicate with you, our fellow tapir fans, about tapirs. It's no secret that our most popular posts throughout the year generally involve a video or series of photos of a newly born tapir. And that's no surprise, let's be honest - who doesn't like a baby tapir, or a video of a tapir being tickled and groomed? Sometimes a post on 27 April, World Tapir Day, attracts more publicity than we'd ever dreamed of in WTD's first year in 2008.
Every now and again, we post a link to an article about issues that pose serious threats to the longterm survival of all four extant tapir species (not to mention to individual tapirs). Two recent confronting examples are this post from the Malaysian Nature Society and another from Patricia Medici, President of the Tapir Specialist Group (NOTE: the links are confronting and contain disturbing reports about tapirs). When we share such reports, we do so in the knowledge that some readers will find the reports upsetting - as do we.
We share them with the best of intentions. We are firmly of the view that, regardless of the how confronting the reports and accompanying images may be, it is important that such information is shared. Part of our passion for tapirs is also about raising awareness of the threats that they face, and this includes reports that we wish didn't have to exist. But we know that not every supporter of WTD feels the same, and we've come in for criticism after some of some our posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We acknowledge this criticism and do take it to heart.
It isn't as tapirs are the only species that face similar issues. If you read news about rhinoceros conservation, the horrendous reports of poaching seem to be the predominant theme, and it can be difficult to find anything positive amongst the massive losses every year.
But World Tapir Day isn't just about what we think is important. The strength of WTD is the sense of community that has developed to support WTD's goals, not to mention share our love of tapirs. Part of the responsibility that we feel towards you is knowing how you feel about this topic. So please tell us below: should we continue to post the occasional distressing report, or should we only focus on the positive side?
The 2016 edition of World Tapir Day has been. Once again, we greatly appreciate to the people and organisations who made World Tapir Day so successful in 2016. Without your efforts and engagement WTD would not be able to exist, and raise awareness of tapirs and the threats that they face.
Events took place on five continents - these are a few of the many highlights from around the world:
We are so grateful to the people and organisations who made World Tapir Day so successful in 2015. Without your efforts and engagement there is no way that WTD could have grown to the level that it has.
2015 World Tapir Day events - a summary (links to be added)
Another 27 April is here, which means that it's now World Tapir Day - the eighth WTD since its inception in 2008.
World Tapir Day is being celebrated at events in at least eleven countries in 2015. Ten Japanese zoos have hosted events to mark the occasion, as have zoos in other Asian countries, and across Europe, North America and Australia. Particularly special is always the World Tapir Day celebration in Belize that coincides with the country's National Tapir Day at the Belize Zoo. There will be other events happening, some of which we'll learn about only after the fact. Our Facebook page has the full list of events on it.
In Malaysia, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, PERHILITAN, is running a campaign to draw attention to the problem of tapirs being killed on the country's highways:
My personal highlight this year has been this wonderful infographic produced by Peppermint Narwhal Creative:
Happy World Tapir Day everybody! We hope you are having a wonderful day.
The French writer/illustrator Jean-Claude Forest is best known for his comic strip Barbarella, which was adapted in 1968 into a film starring Jane Fonda. A prolific and successful comic strip creator, Forest was also responsible for the character Tapir, the mastermind of interstellar organised crime in the 30th century.
Forest's Les Naufragés du Temps (hereafter referred to as 'LNdT') series tells the story of a couple of humans who were placed into cryonic hiberation in the 1990s as humanity faced being wiped out through pestilence. Christopher and Valérie awake in 2981, a time when Earth is threatened by alien, intelligent rats.
Of the many characters that Chris and Valerie encounter is Tapir, the largest criminal in the cosmos - another universe, allegedly. Tapir is depicted as a sword-wielding giant in a flowing cloak, who, despite originating from another universe, looks very much like a Brazilian tapir.
The title of LNdT references Jules Verne's novel The Mysterious Island, and, much in the style of Barbarella - itself dubbed "the first comic strip for grown-ups" - LNdT continues in the same vein. There were ten parts to the LNdT series, and Tapir featured in at least three of them. LNdT was first published in 1974, with multiple reprints since.
The third volume of LNdT was released in English as Lost in Time: Labyrinth in 1986, although Tapir was renamed The Boar (presumably because the intended target market was not as familiar with tapirs as it ought to have been). It has been described as a landmark of modern science fiction.
Forest died on 30 December 1998, having suffered from severe asthma for many years.
A new series on the WTD blog is a potted history of tapirs and brands from around the world. Whilst tapirs are not one of the flagship species that are used in marketing campaigns, they have nonetheless been featured from time to time. We'd love to hear from you about other brands and marketing campaigns that have featured tapirs - both current and past.
First up is Tapir Brand, a trade mark filed almost a century ago by a flour mill in Western Australia.
On 15 December 1919, the York Flour Milling Company Ltd filed a trade mark for Tapir Brand - one of three filed on that day (the others being Hoopoe Brand and Shuttlecock and Battledore Brand). The brands were presumably filed as part of a plan to expand its range of products. The filing occurred exactly a century after the Malayan tapir was first described in Western scientific literature by French zoologist Anselme Gaëtan Desmarest.
Based in the Western Australian town of York, around 100km east of Perth, the company began operations in 1892 as the Empire Milling Company. It began trading as the York Flour Milling Company in 1908, producing 3000 tonnes of flour, 900 tonnes of bran and 450 tonnes of pollard each year at its peak from its four-storey flour mill on Broome Street.
Registered as application 26762, the Tapir Brand trade mark was accepted in the following year on 5 March, registered over fifteen years later on 14 December 1935, and renewed 36 years later on 15 December 1961. Tapir Brand flour, to the best of my knowledge, never made it to market.
The flour mill closed as a working mill in 1967, and served as an arts centre to the local community until recently. Tapir Brand is a footnote in Australian trade mark history of a brand that was never used commercially that was submitted by a regional primary producer that ceased operating almost half a century ago.
With 2015 World Tapir Day just under four weeks away, it's time for another monthly update. WTD Central (Melbourne, Australia) has been busy working on plans for the future of World Tapir Day, not to mention working many long hours in paid employment (much as it'd be lovely to spend all day working on tapir-related activities, it doesn't actually pay - and one of the central tenets of WTD is that all funds raised through its efforts are donated towards tapir conservation projects).
So, without any further ado, here's the latest monthly roundup of tapir news.
Tapir reports and news highlights: March 2015
Leading the way in tapir news this month was National Geographic's report on an albino Brazilian tapir that was photographed by a camera trap last year. Photographer Luciano Candisani had heard reports of a local legend among the people living in a protected area of southeastern Brazil's Atlantic rain forest. They reported sightings of a pure-white tapir, so Candisani set up a camera trap in an attempt to photograph it. His good fortune has been great publicity for the threats facing tapir habitat in South America.
Malaysian newspaper the Sun Daily published an interesting opinion piece about Malayan tapirs, conservation efforts and the 'loan' of two pandas to the Malaysian Government by its Chinese counterpart. It highlights the massive sums of money spent on ensuring the pandas' loans, and the relative lack of money and engagement in protecting Malaysia's own iconic black and white species.
The ArtSemble Tapi Project (no typo) in Malaysia continues to produce tapirs in preparation for its exhibition at PenangPac to mark WTD this year, with a plan to tour the exhibition following this.
The central premise of the Tapi Project is to raise awareness about Malayan tapirs through visiting schools to conduct art workshops. ArtSemble members give a presentation about tapirs and another about contemporary art, before teaching the students how to sculpt tapirs with clay. These tapirs will form part of the art installation to be shown on World Tapir Day. They hope to have around 3,000 tapir sculptures in the installation to represent the number of Malayan tapirs remaining (which may indeed be slightly on the high side). The Facebook page has photos of the workshops and education sessions that ArtSemble has been running recently, with a lot of little tapirs now very much in evidence. We look forward to seeing the results soon!
Takepart.com is running an online poll to promote an upcoming Disney film. Whilst the film itself doesn't hold a lot of appeal to this writer, the 'Rare & Ready to Be Saved' bracket game does as it includes the Malayan tapir as one of the endangered species. Essentially a popularity contest, Tapirus indicus has made it into the final four animals and could do with your support to help it win. It's possible to vote once daily for each stage of the knock-out, so show your love of the Malayan tapir with your vote! Each vote also raises a small sum for Conservation International.
2015 World Tapir Day events
The WTD Facebook page is starting to amass the events that are being announced around the world to celebrate WTD this year. If you know of an event that is happening - or you are organising one yourself - we'd love to hear from you, and we'll promote it to the wider community. At the time of writing, there are a few events listed, but we're looking forward to being able to announce some others that we know of but aren't quite ready yet to promote.
It's been a slow couple of weeks and there haven't been recent tapir births around the world of late!
The World Tapir Day blog. Posts about World Tapir Day, tapirs, conservation, the environment and random tapir-related topics.