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The Reclusive Malayan Tapir-People

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Please allow me to present a brief introduction to the different species of tapir-people. We all belong to the genus “Tapirus” of the family “Tapiridae.” My kin are found only in Southeast Asia, and most people call us Malayan tapir-folk. In addition to Malaysia, there is habitat for us in Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand. There are three other species that live in Central and South America. Their common names are Baird’s, South American, and mountain tapir-people.

Since we have been on Earth for 20 million years and our physical characteristics have remained pretty much the same, some scientists consider us living fossils. A newborn tapir-person baby can weigh between 7 and 8 kilograms and arrives in a special birthday suit that will likely put a smile on your face. Brown and beige stripes along the torso, with white polka dots spread over the face and legs, create an adorable impression.

As we are herbivores, our rainforest home provides everything we need for nourishment, such as leaves, fruit, grasses, tender shoots, and aquatic plants. With our active lifestyle and healthy vegan diet, we can live to be about 30. Our way of eating also contributes to the biological diversity of our wide-ranging territories. During our travels, we distribute seeds and recycle nutrients that help maintain the ecosystem, ensuring a continuous supply of food and shelter.

To come back to reality, I regret to inform you that we are facing the possibility of extinction – not only those of us here in Southeast Asia, but our tapir-cousins in Central and South America as well. For example, my species, “Tapirus indicus,” is on the Red List of Threatened Species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

I must say there are some very kindhearted individuals, however, who created a website for us in 2008 and declared April 27 to be World Tapir Day each year. Please join them in saving us, which will benefit the rainforests, and then the planet will have a better chance of withstanding the consequences of climate change.

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