Meta-Population Management of Malayan Tapir in its Distribution Range

Timeframe: 2020 - 2023
Country/Region: West Malaysia and West Sumatra, Indonesia
Partner: IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group // Copenhagen Zoo

The Malayan Tapir is one of the most iconic animals found in Malaysia. And it is the only surviving species of its family in Asia; it is also the largest and only species to exhibit a characteristic bicolouration. With a population estimated at 1500-1800 individuals, Peninsular Malaysia is the main stronghold of the species. In the past decade, the species has suffered significant habitat loss and large undisturbed areas have become separated into ever smaller fragments, primarily due to agricultural and infrastructure development. This has led to an alarming rise in displaced tapirs that often suffer road accidents or retaliatory killing.

Fondation Segré is supporting a project implemented by Copenhagen Zoo under the guidance of IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group aiming at identifying the main causes of dispersing tapirs to improve management of the species in a human-dominated landscape. Better knowledge of displacement ecology and resettlement will be essential for improved management as well as accident mitigation intervention.

In addition, the project aims at building project management capacity in Indonesia, the second most important tapir range, where landscape-based development planning and conservation, along with developing grant proposals and project management capacity remains limited. The capacity building component will be anchored at University of Andalas (AU), Padang, and form a permanent part of the MSc Biology-curriculum. As one of Indonesia’s leading university concerning conservation graduates, AU forms the ideal platform for developing this capacity as well as educating and disseminating knowledge to many of the country’s future conservation biologists, land-use planners and Government development officers.