TAPIRS: The Oldest Gardeners of the Forests

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The Brazilian Lowland is known as the Tapir or ‘Bush Cow’ in Guyana. They have an even brownish-grey colour and are the largest forest mammal. They are known to be very silent

creatures until they’ve been threatened or alarmed, where they snort or stamp. Tapirs weigh approximately 250 kg and have a short stiff mane of dark hair that runs from their forehead to their shoulder.

They look like a cross between the hippopotamus, cow and elephant, due to its elongated nose. When a tapir is born, it has a brown colour and bright yellow and white spots along its sides and legs. They are considered excellent swimmers because of their webbed feet.

When they want to communicate, they do so by a loud, piercing, whistling sound and they do imitations of this call which attracts hunters, making them easy hunters. Tapirs can be found at the river bottoms of the Iwokrama Rain Forest or forested areas of the Rupununi and in the comfort of their homes or in any opaque weather. Their vegetation consists of searching through leaves for grass, shoots and fruits, which they choose using their long, grasping noses and shoot them into their mouths.

Tapirs are considered living fossils, since they’ve been around for millions of years. But it is quite surprising, since they reproduce very slowly, with a gestation period of thirteen to fourteen months, with one offspring being born at a time. They are called the gardeners of the forest due to their wide range and movement of great distances between different habitats. They travel from forest patch to forest patch, providing a well-designed link between them. Their travelling

contributes to the dispersion of seeds, which creates a plant genetic The Tapir or ‘Bush Cow’ flow between habitats.



Article Categories:
Animals · Daily Updates · Issue 33

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