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!
Taiwanese artist Cherng (whom we'll cover in detail at some stage in the future) spends much of his time drawing tapirs, which has led to his work appearing around the Taipei Zoo, on many consumer items, as well as featuring in the new video of Taiwanese alt rock band Mayday.
You'll never see as many dancing tapirs in a single location as you will in the following video. Or tapir-fish, tapir mannequins, or Malayan tapirs in other contexts that you'd never thought you'd see them in.
Every now and again, we come across a tapir-related project or activity that makes us very happy. The Tapi Project is the latest of these, and reminds us why World Tapir Day was founded originally.
Based in Malaysia, the Tapi Project is an initiative of the artist collective ArtSemble. It is a tapir awareness art installation project that will be exhibited at the Penang Performing Arts Centre for World Tapir Day, 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).
To help its efforts, ArtSemble has created a crowdfunding page to raise money to support its efforts. Supporters will receive a range of tapir-themed items, including t-shirts, key rings and sculptures.
Here at WTD HQ, we think that it's a brilliant idea, and one that really deserves to succeed. If you'd like to help support a tapir education project, this is a pretty good one to choose.
The World Tapir Day blog. Posts about World Tapir Day, tapirs, conservation, the environment and random tapir-related topics.