New WTD website and a call to arms
The big news from WTD in January has been - not surprisingly - the relaunched website. It has been a long time in concept, a relatively short time in development, but a very long time in need. The original website was developed in early 2008 (in preparation for the first WTD), and whilst there were updates to it, the underlying software and structure proved to be far more complicated to maintain than had been anticipated. Rather than being able to focus on content, a lot of time was spent on keeping it functioning. Over the intervening years, the Facebook page became the primary World Tapir Day presence on the Internet, with our Twitter account playing a secondary role in spreading the tapir conservation message.
With the start of the new year, we decided that it was time to finally retire the old site and deliver the website that was planned from the beginning. Instead of focusing on software updates and maintaining databases, the new backend allows us to get on with the important work - World Tapir Day and raising awareness of tapir conservation.
This is where you come in. World Tapir Day is a volunteer-run project, and without volunteers, we aren't able to achieve as much as we'd like to be able to. No matter where you live or what your experience is, we'd love to have your involvement. The WTD plan for 2015 involves a lot of website content creation, news updates, media releases and the development of information resources for people and organisations wishing to celebrate World Tapir Day around the world. This involves a range of skills, including graphic design, copywriting and website and social media updating, not.to mention develop creative ideas about how the message of tapir conservation can be promoted to a wider audience. One does not need to be a tapir researcher (but we'd love to have some write a few articles for us!) to be part of the WTD effort - a willingness to contribute and a love of tapirs is all one needs.
It you would like to be part of the World Tapir Day experience, please get in contact with us.
Tapir reports and news highlights: January 2015
Heather D'Angelo's article on Mongabay gives an insight into the work of the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI) that was founded in Brazil in 2008 to conduct long-term research into new insights into the relationship between the health of tapir populations and their environment. The research studied tapir population from two of the four Brazilian biomes: the Pantanal and the Atlantic Forest, and is being used to develop conservation strategies and inform landowners about how best to manage their livestock to reduce the impact on native species.
- "Time for a checkup: researchers examine the health of lowland tapirs", 7 January 2015.
Malaysian Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz called for groups to look into the conservation of another “black and white” animal – the equally endangered Malayan tapir –.at the launch of the World Panda Tour in Malaysia. Since the announcement in mid-2014 of China loaning a pair of pandas to Malaysia, there has been recognition in some quarters of Malaysian society that the high profile panda attracts far more conservation attention than Malaysia's own species.
The birth of a Malayan tapir calf at Edinburgh Zoo on New Year's Eve has received extensive media coverage. The male calf has been named Mekong, after the delta river which flows through where the animals are found in the wild, and he is said to be "lively and very distinctive".
Malaysian magazine Hype has covered the #tapirtapir campaign that was launched in response to the "1,600 Pandas" exhibition that has been touring Malaysia recently. The appearance of a lone papier mache tapir at the exhibition served as a reminder that tapirs face extinction too. Despite being a protected animal in several regions including Malaysia, the number of tapirs continue to decrease, with perhaps fewer than 2,000 Malayan tapirs remaining.
A Brazilian tapir at the Municipal Park Zoo "Quinzinho de Barros" in Brazil has undergone dental surgery to treat teeth that were preventing him from eating (link in Portuguese).