09 10/09/2010

Lowland Tapir

This photo from the Pantanal, Brazil, shows what life is like for a field conservationist studying Tapirs.

Chester Zoo has supported Patricia Medici's work for the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative for several years.  Patricia and her team spent most of July and August in Baía das Pedras studying and radio-collaring Lowland Tapirs.  These tapirs are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list, facing many threats such as habitat destruction and hunting.  Research such as this will add to our knowledge of the species so we are better able to conserve the tapirs and reduce the threats to their survival. 

Like any other field worker, Patricia has many problems to overcome – these recently ranged from 4X4 truck problems, difficulties training the working dogs and a strong cold weather front coming in from the Andes!  Despite all this, tapirs which were previously collared in earlier field trips were successfully tracked and vital information on their movements was collected. A big boost to the project was the capture and radio-collaring of a female tapir. This is only the second female tapir collared at Baía das Pedras and also happened to be the largest tapir they have found so far in the Pantanal. They also encountered many other exciting animals which you can view by reading the July and August blogs on www.tapirconservation.org.br.  More updates on this project to follow later this year.