The Malayan Tapir (Tapiris Indicus) is one of Malaysia’s most iconic animals. It’s distinctive ‘white coat’, from shoulders to stubby tail, make it a characteristic species throughout the Malaysian landscape. They have toes or hooves on their feet, four on the front foot and three at the back. This makes them closely related to horses, zebras and rhinos.
Although tapirs can be considered lucky for having few natural predators, this makes it all the more obvious that their near extinction is mainly down to humans. Deforestation is the main cause that many tapirs end up as roadkill.
In recent decades, Malaysia had one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Combined with the massive expansion of the road network, this has taken its toll on the unsuspecting tapir. In fact, the Malayan Tapir is an easy target for speeding vehicles due to their poor eyesight. This species has very poor vision, because of a genetic problem to the corneo of their eye which results in cloudiness and loss of vision.
Poaching and hunting of tapirs is also on the rise. Even the current trend for exotic pets is affecting the poor animal, as tapir calves are adorable. They are defintely cute creatures, with their brown fur and dappled stripes.
Fortunately, the tide is slowly turning for the neglected nocturnal tapir. Research and conservation efforts are in progress and a rescue centre has been set up: the Malay Tapir Conservation Centre (MTCC).
There is also a World Tapir Day on the 27th April every year.
If you want to exprience the real habitat of the Malayan Tapir, then join this highly recommended rainforest conservation project. You will be able to immerse yourself in the tropical rainforest and learn about wildlife conservation and the amiable local forest tribe.
For more details about the rainforest experience,