Mountain View Conservation Society is home to a pair of extremely rare, 30 million year old species – Mountain Tapirs. The male, named Manuel, arrived on January 16, 2006, and marked a significant milestone in Mountain View’s efforts to help ensure the survival of this ancient, woolly mammal from the high cloud forests in the Andes Mountains of South America. He was welcomed by Inca, our resident female Mountain Tapir. This pair represents two of only nine in captivity outside their range countries. In the wild, due to difficulty in tracking, the actual number of individuals is difficult to determine and may be substantially less than 1000. For the first time ever in Canada, members of the public will have the opportunity to contribute directly to help save this little known species from the very real threat of final extinction. Adoptions of Mountain View’s resident female Mountain Tapir, Inca, or Manuel, her mate, are only $50.00 per year, or $100.00 for both.
Click here to Donate: Adopt a Mountain Tapir
All funds generated by our Tapir Adoption Program are used to care for this special pair and hopefully, as time goes by, a new baby will replenish dwindling wild populations. That could take some time because the gestation period of the female is 18-months! Major threats to their survival include: habitat loss due to human settlement; logging; opium and cocaine production; livestock expansion, military activity; and poaching for food and folklore medicine.
LIFE SPAN: 25 – 30 years
DISTRIBUTION: Found in the Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
SIZE: Body length: 180cm (6ft), shoulder height: 75-80cm (30-32in), tail length: 5-10cm (2-4in), weight 225-250kg (495-550lb).
HABITAT: Mountain Tapirs are mostly found high in the mountains at 2,000-4,300 meters (6,550-14,100ft). They live in temperate sub-alpine paramos, mountain cloud forest and mountainous sub-tropical regions.
REPRODUCTION: Breeding occurs throughout the year and one calf is born after a 390-400 day gestation period.
DIET: Mountain Tapirs consume a wide variety of woody and non-woody plant material that includes ferns and plant shoots. They also visit natural salt licks to supplement their diet.
- The Mountain Tapir is an ancient species and is one of the ancestors of the modern horse.
- Other Mountain Tapir relatives include the rhinoceros.
- Tapirs are the only species which can swim as fast as they can run. They are also very adept climbers and can scale hills and fences with ease.
- They will run to water when threatened or scared.
- Tapirs have a prehensile nose which enables them to grasp and pull vegetation to their mouth.
- Tapirs crash through the jungle. They create a system of tunnels and trails in jungle undergrowth.
- Much of the tapirs’ habitat has been destroyed by slash and burn agriculture.
- Mountain Tapirs have the longest hair of the tapir family, about one inch long and similar in texture to bear fur.
- The woolly hair ranges in color from coal black to dark reddish-brown and the young animals look more like reddish-brown watermelons.
- The main form of communication is a shrill whistle as well as a series of squeaking and chipping sounds. This vocalization can be heard over great distances.
- Tapirs are often hunted by humans, their snout and hoofs are thought to cure disease.
Map of Tapir range courtesy of Tapir Specialist Group
It wouldn’t be possible for Mountain View Conservation to continue its programs without your donations! Please continue to support this extremely important work.
You can help! Click here to Donate: Adopt a Mountain Tapir
Or, Click the Canada Helps logo and donate securely online.