Rainforest Trust’s Brazilian partner Reserva Ecologica de Guapiaçu (REGUA) is leading efforts with a local university to reintroduce two South American Tapirs back into their natural habitat in the Atlantic Rainforest.
REGUA Reserve safeguards essential habitat for 60 mammal species in the Atlantic Rainforest, and that number will be increased by the end of this year. This winter, two Vulnerable South American Tapirs – a species that was formerly extirpated in the State of Rio de Janeiro where REGUA is located – will be reintroduced in the reserve.
The South American Tapir is one of the largest mammals on the continent and is known for its important role in seed dispersal. Tapirs usually have a wide forest range and forage for food such as fruit, berries and leaves.
As part of the reintroduction process, the REGUA team has been meeting with local landowners and schools to ensure that the community is aware of the program and to answer any questions about how to secure lands so that the tapirs don’t cause damage to farm crops. The tapirs will be fitted with tracking collars to monitor the animals once they are released, and a series of camera traps have been set up throughout their forest habitat. Over the next five years, REGUA is planning to release about 50 individuals that will be monitored to provide conservationists with data on the state of the species and their habitat.