Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Indonesian Endangered Fauna: The Sumatran Tapir
This is the Sumatran/Malayan Tapir (Tapir Indicus), one of the world's four species of tapirs. Tapir indicus is native to southeast Asia and can be found mainly in the tropical forests of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, peninsular Malaysia, and parts of Indochina, particularly Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). Like its siblings in South and Central America (tapirus bairdii, tapirus pinchaque, and tapirus terrestris), it is classified as a vulnerable and endengered species.
Tapir is classified into the order of perissodactyla together with horses and rhinoceroses, its closest relatives in the animal kingdom. An adult tapir is generally 2 meters long and about one meter tall and can weigh somewhere between 150 to 300 kilograms. With light grey and black coloring (see photo), Sumatran/Malayan tapirs are considered to have more interesting appearance than its Central and South American siblings which have dark furs.
Tapir's most distinctive feature is its proboscis or snout. It can move in all directions and is used to grab foliage that is otherwise difficult to grab and detect scents. The snout of Sumatran/Malayan tapir is the longest of all tapir species.
Shown in the above photo is a mother tapir, named Novi, and her baby son Nova who was born on 22 November 2008 at Bandung Zoo. Nova's father, a male tapir named Willy, is not in the photo. Baby tapirs of all species, by the way, always have stripped and spotted coats like the one you see in the photo. This probably has to do with survival technique of camouflage.