Tapirs are considered “architects of nature” because in its natural habitat it plays a key role in both the functioning and the structure of ecosystems due to its role as a seed disperser. They do so through their stools, in which they eliminate the intact seeds and, in this way, the plants and fruits they eat are watered at a distance and over time they grow back.
That will be the natural task of Jacinto, the tapir born on Wednesday, October 14 at the Buenos Aires Ecopark and weighing 4,180 kilograms.
“The birth of this tapir is a Great event because it explains one of the great pillars of what the Ecopark is today: a space for conservation of native fauna of the country, “he explained Eduardo Macchiavelli, Secretary of the Environment of the City.
The official said that “the birth was carried out as if the mother had been in nature” and that the growth of the newborn will be “with the least human contact, so we can return it to its natural space as soon as possible and with a greater probability of success ”.
“Vulnerable” species. At the national level, the latest Categorization of Mammals in Argentina considers this species as “vulnerable” as well as the International Category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature
Chicha, the mother tapir, had a normal delivery and without any type of complication, which allowed Jacinto to be born without requiring the intervention of veterinarians.
Like any mother, since her son was born she takes care of him. “It helped him get up and suckle immediately after giving birth, as happens in nature”, reported from Ecoparque.
There, the veterinary and animal care team are pending that everything continues “according to what is expected for the species.”
The newborn’s name is Jacinto in homage to a native flower of Corrientes, the province in which the baby was conceived. “Both hyacinths and tapirs are species closely linked to water. In the Ecopark there are water hyacinths and when the baby is released in nature, these flowers will remember their history ”, assures the team of the property that continues its conversion.
Jacinto is part of the conservation program carried out by the Buenos Aires Ecopark and which has the participation of Rewilding Argentina and of Conservation land Trust (CLT), organizations with which he works to find a suitable natural environment to free the rescued individuals from the province of Corrientes.
The Tapir or Mboreví (Tapirus terrestris) is a perissodactyl (order to which horses, zebras and rhinos also belong) widely distributed in jungles, spines and wetlands in South America.
This species is the Argentina’s largest land herbivore in terms of weight. It is an adaptable mammal, with a wide distribution in South America and native to the Argentine North, which is listed as “Vulnerable to extinction in Argentina” and it already became extinct in the province of Corrientes during the 20th century.
Argentina It is the South American country where the situation of the species is most compromised: In the last 100 years, its distribution in the country has been reduced to less than half and the remaining population is in decline.
The main threats identified for the species in Argentina are the reduction, fragmentation and impoverishment of habitat and hunting. The latter was probably the main cause of his disappearance from Corrientes.
Until about 200 years ago, the tapir inhabited several Argentine provinces: Salta, Jujuy, Tucumán, Formosa, Chaco, Santiago del Estero, Misiones, Corrientes and Entre Ríos, and currently, it is extinct in Entre Ríos, Corrientes and Tucumán and probably also in Santiago del Estero and Santa Fe.
The tapir inhabited the north and center of Corrientes and is believed to have also spread to the south of the province.
According to Tapir Specialists Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the four species of tapirs “They are ideal candidates for reintroduction or relocation programs.”
This claim is based on the fact that tapirs are highly adaptable to diet changes, of environmental and habitat conditions and therefore have the potential to overcome the greatest challenges faced by relocated animals.
Besides being excellent swimmers and divers, they are known for moving quickly on land. Their life expectancy is 25 to 30 years.
Observations on their behavior in nature revealed that during the day they tend to move into forests and at night they go out to more open areas such as scrublands or grasslands, rivers and lagoons. When the days are very hot, they spend long periods submerged in the water.
The tapir prefers regenerating forests over mature forests, this probably occurs due to the greater abundance of pioneer plant species, which are more palatable and with fewer defense structures. They also choose sectors of palm groves.
The naturalist Alcide d’Orbigny He points out in Corrientes in 1827: “The tapir is rare, although some are seen in swampy places.”
It inhabited the Puerto Valle area, in the northeast of the Iberá basin and subsisted in the Apipé, Yacyretá and Talavera islands area until the 1960s when the last specimen on record was hunted, in 1975.
Interesting facts about the tapir
-At the national level, the latest Categorization of Mammals in Argentina considers this species as “vulnerable”. The International Category the International Union for Conservation of Nature also classifies the species as vulnerable.
-Females give birth to a single young per litter and weigh between 3 and 6 kg. The young have reddish fur with light stripes until 6 or 7 months, when it begins to change to the adult coloration: darker grayish brown towards the back. Although the calf is weaned between six and eight months, they remain with the mother for a year or up to 18 months, inclusive.
-They are herbivores, their diet consists mainly of leaves, young shoots, fruits and barks.
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