The Tapir Gallery:
Focus on the
lowland tapir

Inhabiting a paradise in peril

The lowland, Brazilian, or South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is indigenous to most of the rainforested areas of South America. While there are more of this species left than of the Baird's, mountain and Malayan tapirs, the rainforests are suffering at the hands of humanity, and the tapirs are disappearing along with the rainforest. In addition, tapirs are often hunted, a pressure they cannot withstand for long.

Tapirs figure in myths, legends, and religious beliefs of indigenous people. The Piaroas Indians of South America do not kill the tapir (Tapirus terrestris) because they believe tapirs to be "a sacred animal in which their ancestors are reincarnated." Source: Edgardo Mondolfi, "La Danta o Tapir," Defensa Nat. 1969. 1(4): 13-20.

Links below marked with an (orange arrow) indicate that the page is about or specifically includes lowland (or Brazilian) tapirs. Other links may contain general information, or information about a habitat area that includes lowland tapirs, but where the species is not mentioned.

Description and general information


Endangered species lists


Conservation and research


By country




All tapirs are endangered species.
Saving tapirs helps save the rainforest.

Photo © 1997 Roy Cole; used by permission

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