Tapirs are Latin America’s largest land mammals, and although they look a bit like wild boars, they are actually related to horses and rhinoceroses. They are nocturnal and have been caught on wildlife cameras making nighttime visits to Maritza Biological Station, the Stroud Center’s headquarters for the study of tropical ecosystems. Rafa Morales Cueto, field station manager at Maritza, filmed this tapir on a rare daytime visit, enjoying the rain while swimming in Río Tempisquito.
According to the Tapir Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, “Tapirs shape and maintain the biodiversity of tropical ecosystems; without them, there would not be the same rich variety of animals and plants there. They are known as an ‘umbrella species’ because they have a wide-ranging habitat that also includes wild cats, monkeys, deer, and many varieties of birds and reptiles. If we protect their habitat, the habitat of many other animals is also protected.”