From Tapirs to Wild Horses & Burros and more, lets save them where they belong–in the wild!

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The Tapir Gallery

"Esperanza," a baby mountain tapir of Ecuador.
© Copyright 1996 by Craig C. Downer; all rights reserved. Used by permission.

Poaching ~ Illegal Slaughter of the Mountain Tapir

(Please note: some of these photos show slaughtered animals.)

Two tragic events are chronicled by Craig Downer. Unlike with dolphins or baby seals, the killings do not take place in great numbers, and public attention is not focused on the decline of these animals. As far as anyone knows, there are only about 1,000-2,500 mountain tapirs left.

Mountain Tapirs in Ecuador

A Photo Essay by Craig C. Downer

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The Mountain Tapir, Endangered "Keystone" Species of the High Andes

A Photo Narrative by Craig C. Downer

A road gouges through "Eden"

Photos show construction of the Guamote-Macas road, plowing through the formerly-pristene section of Sangay National Park known as the Purshi Sector.

Photos by Craig C. Downer.

Conservationists Risk Their Lives for Peru's Highland Headwaters

Field Report: Conservation in the Andes

March 3, 1998: Craig Downer reports from Baños on his and Ruben's work for February (posted on Tapir Talk March 22). This report details challenges of the project.

Field Report: Expeditions in Ecuador

March 3, 1997: Craig C. Downer describes a number of expeditions into national parks and reserves in Ecuador in his effort to ascertain the general status of mountain tapirs in Ecuador. He also discusses other aspects of his conservation work. This is a good read, folks - don't miss the white deer in the mist!

Proposal for Culmination of Mountain Tapir, Andean Forest and Paramo Protection Project in Northern Peru

Press Release: "Endangered Species Supply Banquet Fare"

January 22, 1997: Based on an open letter (next link below) and a telephone conversation with Dr. Terry H. Bassett of Canada, this press release contains additional details that were not clear in the open letter.

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Why bother to save the tapirs?

Besides the obvious reason that a beautiful creature that's been on the planet for an estimated 35 million years - whose traceable ancestry probably reaches back about 60 million years - should not be exterminated in a few short lifetimes by humans, there are some very practical reasons to save mountain tapirs.

The Andes are a watershed for humans and animals alike.

The destruction of this watershed is already in progress. Villages in Ecuador and other Andean countries are already without water because humanity has devastated the source of this water. Desertification has already begun. This is not a hypothesis of what may happen, it is today's reality. This situation is widespread through out the Andes; some of the occurrences in Ecuador are in areas south of Sangay and also near the Colombian border.

How are the watersheds being destroyed?

In several ways. One has to do with tapirs and other animals. Where the animals have been hunted to extinction, the trees disappear. Downer has recently studied the tapir's role in dispersing seeds needed to maintain healthy forest growth. In turn, the forest is vital in maintaining the watershed. Without trees, the land becomes a desert, and populated areas within the drainage of this watershed become waterless as a result.

Can these ecosystems be saved?

Yes, they can! But it's going to take a lot of hard work and money in a short period of time.

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