of the Lowland Tapir (Tapirus terrestris)
at Morro do Diabo State Park -
Forestry Institute of São Paulo State
Clicking on links or photos will enlarge the picture.
Entrance to Morro do Diabo State Park
Lush, green and inviting. The sign reads, "Parque Estadual Morro do Diabo."
Morro do Diabo
"Devil's Hill," in the distance. From this height, the team can receive radio-collar signals from anywhere in the park, making tracking of the tapirs relatively easy.
A tapir at Assis
The Ecological Station of Assis provides a natural setting for Tapirus terrestris in captivity. This is where Patrícia performed the collar tests.
Testing the collars
Here a harness is being tested at the Ecological Station of Assis. This trial did not work, and a single-strap collar (going around the neck only) was finally chosen. It has stayed in place over several months since "Joana," the project's first wild tapir, was caught.
First capture team
"Joana" was caught in summer of 1997. The team included Dr. Doug Pernikoff (veterinarian with WPTI) in the white hat, Patrícia in the red hat, a trainee (lower right) and four field assistants.
A pitfall trap
Several types of capture methods were explored, but pitfall traps worked best. Animals were captured without injury. The tapirs were sedated, and when work was finished a ramp was built for their release.
A box trap baited with salt
Box traps were also tried in the beginning, but tapirs generally avoided them or else managed to reach the salt without being caught.
The tapir's track
A tapir's track can be seen very clearly here, measured against the size of a pen.
More photos are included with our interview.