Tapir or Danto in Honduras
The Danto or Tapir as it is known in Honduras is a mammal that is part of our Honduran fauna. It is from the genus of perissodactyls in the Tapiridae family. In Honduras Tapirus bairdii is native to our land.
Similar to domestic pigs, they stand out for having a long snout in the shape of a small proboscis, used to feed on herbs and roots that constitute their main food.
Their trunk is very useful for feeding on aquatic plants in swamps that are usually their preferred habitats. Males use it for mating fights against their rivals.
Related to horses, donkeys, zebras, and rhinos, they are believed to have existed for 40 million years. A unique characteristic of the Tapir is that they do not have knees on their legs.
There are 5 species of Tapir:
- Baird’s tapir, Tapirus bairdii (The one that currently lives in Honduras)
- Brazilian tapir, Tapirus terrestris
- Malayan tapir, Tapirus indicus
- Mountain tapir, Tapirus pinchque
- Kabomani tapir, Tapirus kabomani (Discovered in 2013 in the Amazon between Brazil and Colombia)
Baird’s Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) native to Honduras
The Baird’s Tapir also known as the Central American or Northern Tapir ( Tapirus bairdii ) was first identified by naturalists Spencer Fullerton Baird , in Mexico in 1843. And its territory ranges from southern Mexico to northern Ecuador.
It is dark brown in color with a distinctive cream color that starts from the throat to the face with a dark spot on each cheek, behind and below the eye. They have a stubby body, with a vestigial tail, and like all other tapir species, they have a cream-colored proboscis muzzle, with four hooves on the front legs and three on the hind legs.
It is the largest of the four species in America, reaching between 1.8 and 2.5 meters long with a small tail between 4 to 9 cm long, and between 0.70 to 1.20 meters high. The adult weighs between 150 to 400 kilograms.
Danger of extinction
In 2002, IUCN reclassified the Baird’s Tapir as endangered due to a future decrease in habitat loss and fragmentation, and hunting. It is estimated that the population decrease is more than 50% in the 3rd generation passing (33 years).
There is evidence to suggest that infectious diseases may contribute to the decline of the species in the future, such as cases that are already finding where there is grazing of cattle.
The current total population estimate for this species is found at 5,000 mature individuals. Extensive habitat changes can be shocking and fragment currently viable populations.
About 70% of Central America’s forest areas are estimated to have been lost due to deforestation and alteration in the past 50 years. This habitat fragmentation, along with hunting and grazing livestock, will further increase the pressure for the survival of Baird’s tapirs in the wild.
In Honduras it is possible to meet them at the Joya Grande Zoo .
April 27 International Tapir Day
April 27 was designated as International Tapir Day , a mammal that inhabits our Honduran forests, and that is native to all of Central America, South America and Southeast Asia.
Honduras has a group of volunteers who work in favor of Tapir Conservation. The ProTapir Group – If you want to join and collaborate visit https://www.facebook.com/TapirHonduras
To create awareness of the danger of this species, a world organization called World Tapir Day has been formed.