About the Tapir Specialist Group

The Tapir Specialist Group is a unit of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. We conserve biological diversity by stimulating, developing, and executing practical programs to study, save, restore, and manage the four species of tapir and their remaining habitats in Central and South America and Southeast Asia.

Our strategies:

a.) Frequent review, status determination and publicizing of tapirs and their needs

b.) Promoting and supporting research and distributing materials

c.) Promoting the implementation of conservation and management programs by appropriate organizations and governments

d.) Establishing strong and effective relationships among tapir conservationists to stimulate communication and cooperation

Tapir Specialist Group and Its Partners

The IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG) is a scientific organization founded in 1980 as one of the 120 Specialist Groups of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC).

The TSG and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), the main organizers of the Second International Tapir Symposium, together with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) and the Tapir Preservation Fund (TPF), are the key groups working on developing and implementing tapir research, conservation and management programs. An important aspect of the mission of these four groups is to contribute to the development of a coordinated international conservation strategy for tapirs.

Who Is TSG?

TSG has over 140 members, including field researchers, educators, veterinarians, governmental agencies and NGO representatives, zoo personnel, university professors and students, from 28 countries worldwide (Argentina, Australia, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela). All members are directly or indirectly involved in tapir field research and/or captive breeding in their respective regions. Over fifty percent of our members hail from developing countries.

View our Membership Directory

TSG operates on a 100% volunteer basis. None of our members are paid by TSG for their tireless work on behalf of tapirs. In 2003 we established the Tapir Specialist Group Conservation Fund to raise funds to support the implementation of the recommendations of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. The fund supports such activities such as creating educational and marketing materials for in-situ and ex-situ education initiatives, giving small grants to tapir researchers to sustain their projects, and supporting vital meetings such as the International Tapir Symposiums where tapir researchers can come together in person to share information, strategize and plan for tapir conservation.

Tapir Specialist Group Conservation Fund

To help fund our work, donations are coordinated by our U.S. institutional sponsor, the Houston Zoo. We are grateful to the Houston Zoo, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, for sponsoring our non-profit fund.

Find out more about donating to the Tapir Specialist Group

International Tapir Symposium – A Vital Connection Among Tapir Researchers

The First International Tapir Symposium was held in November 2001, in Costa Rica, and attracted 95 participants from 22 countries, proving to be a major boost for tapir conservation. Never before has there been so many tapir experts and conservationists, key players in the development of tapir conservation programs, assembled under one roof to share knowledge and address the challenges ahead for tapir species. Specific topics discussed during the First Symposium were field research, veterinary issues, population management, husbandry, fundraising, marketing, education, and tapir bio-politics.

At the First Symposium, we developed a list of goals and actions for the future, related to the structure of the TSG, communication, fundraising, and the urgent need to review the first edition of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan (1997). Several different task forces were formed and assigned specific responsibilities, and since then, the TSG has been growing stronger and improving its structure and effectiveness in many different ways.

3 weeks ago

Tapir Specialist Group

"When you're totally cute and everybody nose it ..."

Baird's tapir calf Ixchel is on exhibit each Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday!

(Photo: Eric Kilby)
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Zoo Miami
WARNING: This video contains scenes that may be too graphic for some people.

Gabe, a 21-year-old endangered Malayan tapir, was immobilized earlier this week so he could receive a double root canal on two broken lower canine teeth. With a life expectancy of approximately 30 years, Gabe is approaching "senior citizen" status and damaged teeth are not an uncommon issue. In the wild, situations like these can lead to serious infection and even death. At the very least, it is very painful. Fortunately, under human care, animals such as Gabe can receive treatment to not only remove and prevent further infection but also eliminate pain.

With the assistance of Zoo Miami Associate veterinarians, Dr. Marisa Bezjian and Dr. Gaby Flacke, the root canals were performed by Dr. Jan Bellows from All Pets Dental and Dr. Elizabeth McMorran, a fourth year dental resident. Dr. Bellows was very happy with the result of the procedure stating that he and Dr. McMorran were able to successfully clean out the infection, perform the root canals, and seal the teeth. Though the fractured canines should not need any further work, it is likely Gabe will need additional treatment in the near future for periodontal disease affecting other teeth.

This is believed to be the first double root canal ever done on a Malayan tapir. Great job, team!!
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1 month ago

Tapir Specialist Group

Franklin Park Zoo
Happy Tapir Tuesday! Turn your volume up, because sometimes loud chewing can actually be adorable.

Tapir calf Ixchel now weighs in at a whopping 60 pounds, and has been trying everything that her mom eats -- including sweet potato, carrot, lettuce, grain, and in this video ... banana!

(Video: Lead Zookeeper Sarah)
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1 month ago

Tapir Specialist Group

Message from Wendy Gardner, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA, United States: In talking with people about Malayan tapir skin outbreaks (blisters, skin sloughing) some people think it could possibly be caused by the sun. I was wondering if anyone had done any testing on the amount of sunlight that filters through the trees and foliage in the areas where wild tapirs live and how much direct exposure they have to sun if any. I think it would be interesting to compare the amount of sun exposure captive tapirs get compared to wild ones. Even in places like Seattle where we have a lot more cloudy days compared to some areas, if tapirs have a sensitivity to sun it could be an issue since you can burn through the clouds. [THIS COULD BE A GREAT TOPIC FOR A MASTER THESIS!] ... See MoreSee Less

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