The Malayan tapir (Acrocodia indica) is also known as Asian tapir and, unfortunately, is in danger of extinction. This interesting animal is wild, because it develops in environments where it must look for its food, as well as being alert to predators and that it is not adapted to live with humans, but to be free.
It has imposing dimensions, as it can measure at least 2 meters in length and reach an approximate weight of 200 to 300 kilos, something uncommon among animals that live in the jungle.
The most important characteristics of the Malayan Tapir
Concerning its coat, it is characterized by having black and white, so some resemble a panda bear. In turn, their legs are black, and both the back and torso are white. Thanks to the discreet color of its skin, the Malayan tapir can be camouflaged at nightfall, so that it can hide and be safe from its many predators.
This wild and exotic animal has a very peculiar snout, as it has an elongated shape, like a kind of horn. Its snout allows it to reach some branches and leaves of the trees to be able to feed more efficiently.
Although the Malayan tapir does not have a very developed sense of sight to observe nearby threats, it has an excellent ear and also has an impressive sense of smell. In this way, they can detect any imminent threat.
Malayan Tapir Habitat
At first, the Malayan tapir was mainly distributed in the American continent. However, because man has threatened its existence, now this animal is limited to living in some areas of the Asian continent.
Specifically, this is a species that lives in the jungles and areas of a tropical climate, with thick vegetation, humidity, and a variety of animals, which are located in the south-east of the Asian continent. Most of the Malayan tapir populations can be found in Sumatra Island, and to a lesser extent, in Malacca Peninsula (Malaysia) and Burma.
What is your diet?
This animal is herbivorous; that is, its diet is limited to the consumption of aquatic plants, tree leaves, grass, and shrubs. In turn, the Malay tapir is a nocturnal animal, as it ventures to look for food late at night.
It is even able to frequent rivers to submerge itself and thus manage to uproot some plants; which does not represent any problem, because it can use its peculiar trunk for breathing while it is in the water.
Form of reproduction
During April and June, the breeding season of the Malayan tapir begins, since it is at this time when the female enters into heat.
In this case, the males, being strongly attracted by the smell of the female’s urine, initiate the courtship, and this is how they identify if a female is in heat or not.
They reproduce in a viviparous and sexual way because there is contact between female and male during mating, and the offspring are born directly from the maternal uterus.
Gestation and offspring
On the other hand, the gestation period of the females has a duration of almost 400 days. At the end of gestation, the females usually give birth to a single calf that can weigh at least 8 kilograms. These babies are then usually breastfed for the first 6 months.
At the same time, as they grow, the distribution of their skin color also changes. In this way, adults and young people can be correctly distinguished.
Does he have predators?
Despite its large size, this species can do little to defend itself from dangers. One of the most ferocious predators of the Malaysian tapir is the feared Sumatran tiger.
However, humans have taken it upon themselves to endanger the survival of the Malaysian tapir. This is because, in recent years, people have destroyed most of the natural habitats of this species. In turn, poaching contributes significantly to the extinction of this species; in fact, hunters are looking for this animal to sell their fur and offspring at exorbitant prices.
Is the tapir in danger of extinction?
Formerly, these creatures could be found in larger regions, such as northern Mexico and the southern United States, as well as in larger areas of Asia.
However, due to indiscriminate hunting for its skin and meat, its territory has been gradually disappearing, causing its population to be more confined to Central and South America and a small part of South Asia.
A low reproduction rate, accompanied by a limited distribution and surrounded by predators, form a terrible combination that can cause the extinction of one of the species.
Unfortunately, at present, the 5 remaining Malayan tapir species are either in a vulnerable or threatened state, which is quite a difficult situation for this population.
The reason for this is mainly due to two factors: their indiscriminate hunting and the destruction of their habitat.
For centuries, humans have lived close to these animals, using them as food or for their skin.
Even today, tapir meat is still a much sought-after dish, although fortunately, many countries have begun to take measures to preserve these species, especially in Asia, where the population is increasingly scarce.
However, even with the protection of laws, indiscriminate hunting remains a potential problem, and this is compounded by the fact that this species does not usually fear humans.
The contact between this creature and the human being usually has two results: either this animal approaches out of curiosity, or ignores the person as if he were not there.
This carefree attitude makes it relatively easy prey for people with bad intentions.
Curious facts about Malayan Tapir
- Although it may seem hard to believe (because it is so heavy), can reach high speeds to escape its predators. Both in captivity and their natural habitat, has a life expectancy higher than 30 years.
- This species is currently in danger of extinction, which is why international authorities have established protected areas and protocols to protect their existence on the planet.
- These animals, although they resemble pigs, are related to horses and rhinoceroses. They belong to the genus Tapirus, that is to say, animals whose legs end in hooves