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!
Welcome to the latest WTD update. It's a little late to be the February one, but as the month is so short, it has slipped into March. In the interest of not delaying it any further, here it is - short and to the point!
Tapir reports and news highlights: February 2015
Malaysian online magazine Poskod.my reported on the #tapitapir campaign to raise awareness about the Malayan tapir. During the Malaysian leg of the "1600 Pandas" world tour, a group of Malaysians decided to crash the Panda World Tour with a model of a single tapir, accompanied by a sign: #TapiTapir.
The Tapir Specialist Group (TSG) has updated its Tapir Veterinary Manual. It is an updated version of the first Tapir Veterinary Manual published by the IUCN/SSC TSG in 2007. Several veterinarians, biologists, nutritionists, reproduction physiologists and researchers reviewed and made contributions to this document based on their in-situ and/or ex-situ experience with the four tapir species. The 13 Chapters and several appendices in this manual offer valuable information on many important topics for veterinarians working with tapirs, including: handling tapirs in the wild and in captivity, anesthesia protocols, treatment protocols and guidelines for medical and nutritional care. The Manual is available from the TSG website.
The Tapir Preservation Fund has launched its new website as part of its efforts to raise tapir conservation efforts. The TPF is a nonprofit organisation that works for the conservation of the four tapir species that inhabit the tropics of Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia. It raises funds to deliver to field projects focused on the conservation of threatened tapir populations. Sheryl Todd has been involved with tapir conservation and education since she first rescued a Brazilian tapir - Stanley K - over four decades ago..
A Malayan tapir had to be rescued from a ditch in Kuantan in Malaysia, having fallen into a ditch.
Tapir births have been reported at:
The World Tapir Day blog. Posts about World Tapir Day, tapirs, conservation, the environment and random tapir-related topics.