Mountain Tapir Research Centre

The mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) is the most endangered large mammal of the northern Andes in South America. It is estimated that there are only around 2500 individuals surviving in the wild and that number is decreasing. Moreover, the remaining population is fragmented in smaller populations that can become extinct because of stochastic and catastrophic factors.

Knowledge about mountain tapir ecology, biology and behaviour is very limited, mostly because the research about the species is sporadic and short term, so no long term research and conservation strategies for the species have been implemented in the past, despite the existence of a few action plans. For that reason, we consider that there is a need to establish a long term research and conservation initiative led by the private sector through the establishment of a research centre to develop a long term program for the management and conservation of the species.

The establishment of a Mountain Tapir Research Center (MTRC) inside the habitat of the species can motivate researchers coming from different parts of the world to focus their conservation studies on the mountain tapir, making a contribution to increase the knowledge about the species, so, land managers can have enough tools to make a sound management of the species and its habitat.

The proposed research centre will be established in the south of Colombian Andes inside a biological corridor that connects the mountain tapir populations from two different Andean mountain ranges and two national parks. This biological corridor is a permanent refuge of a resident population of mountain tapirs, but we need to investigate its dynamics and its relationship with populations inhabiting other nearby conserved areas, like the Puracé national park.

The MTRC is planned to be established close to a forest where a population of mountain tapirs have been monitored for over 10 years and where local communities have been permanently involved in field work. Preliminary work suggests that the resident population of mountain tapirs is stable, as shown by the frequent records of mountain tapir newborns in camera traps.

The plan is to make room for around ten researchers who focus their studies on the mountain tapir, its habitat and related species. We expect to provide researchers with semi-permanent lodging, food, communications and equipment, so they can find all that they need to focus on their research work.

We plan to make a building with rooms, a small auditorium, lab space, restaurant, bathrooms, and library. We need to hire people from the local community to maintain the centre and run a small restaurant. Besides the research activities held in the centre, we also plan to run education and training activities for local communities and students from schools and universities.

One of the goals of the research center is to monitor the mountain tapir population that inhabits the Puraguá Wildlife Refuge. There we have delimited an area of 12,000 hectares covering two micro basins where we estimate that we have a population of around 20-30 mountain tapirs. Our goal is to study this small mountain tapir population in detail and manage it intensively with the goal of securing its conservation in the long term and protecting a genetic bank of the species.

This initiative is led by the Mountain Tapir Forever Project, led by wildlife biologist Sergio Sandoval-Arenas, member of IUCN’s Tapir Specialist Group and by Oscar Wilson, a zoologist from the University of Cambridge, UK.

See more information at:
Total requested: £57,000

Fundraising team: Mountain Tapir Forever (2)

Oscar Wilson
Raised £55 from 3 donations
Sergio Sandoval
Team member
Raised £230 from 6 donations

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.