Protecting endangered tapirs
A team of MSU researchers is heading into the rainforests of Nicaragua to help an endangered species known as the Baird’s tapir coexist with local farmers whose crops are being threatened by the animals.
The animals were thought to be extinct in that part of the world until two years ago when the MSU team discovered them still living there through the use of “camera trapping”—the setting up of still and video cameras in order to “capture” the animal.
Now a battle is under way between the Baird’s tapir, one of four species of the elephant look-alike animals, and local farmers who say they are eating their crops.
The MSU team, led by Lyman Briggs College assistant professor Gerald Urquhart, will attempt to capture a number of the animals and place a GPS collar on them to monitor their movements.
“We’d like to figure out how and where they live and if they can coexist with the agricultural community,” Urquhart says. “We hope the results of this project are that the tapirs can persist in the landscape and can be tolerated by the humans in that area.”
Learn more about MSU’s efforts to help endangered tapirs.