Brazil got some much-needed good news this week, with the birth of a wild tapir in Rio de Janeiro’s Atlantic Forest. It’s the first wild tapir birth in more than a century, and scientists say the birth proves that a reintroduction strategy for the threatened animal has been initially successful.
The pig-like calf with prehensile snout was captured by a camera trap in the Guapiaçu Ecological Reserve, and made the rounds on Brazilian media outlets. According to researchers, the calf was born in January, and since then another female tapir appears to be pregnant — a second birth may be on its way.
Maron Galliez, professor of biology at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio de Janeiro, said, “The whole team is very happy. We now know the project is moving in the right direction. The birth of a tapir in nature indicates the formation of a population in the state. This is essential to restoring the proper functioning of this ecosystem.”
The tapir reintroduction program hopes to speed up the restoration of a habitat that has been devastated by deforestation.
Although the outlook for wild tapirs is looking up, The Guardian reported that the forest’s prospects are still trending downward due to pressure from agribusiness and land speculation.