Tapirs return to Rio de Janeiro after being extinct for 100 years
With support from the Klabin Ecological Park, the Refauna Project delivers the first results of reintroduction of the species in the state
Paraná, October 22, 2020 – This year, the birth of a baby tapir is changing the scenario for the species in the state of Rio de Janeiro, where it had been extinct for over 100 years. With the partnership between the Klabin Ecological Park and the Refauna Project, the reintroduction of the species in the state started producing the first results at the Guapiaçu Ecological Reserve, with the birth of a baby tapir and researchers expecting another baby in the coming months.
The reproduction of animals in the wild shows that the presence of tapirs in nature is gaining traction and that the whole process of acclimatization and food supplementation developed by researchers with the animals has been successful. In 2018, the Klabin Ecological Park, located in Telêmaco Borba, Paraná, sent three tapirs: one female – Flora, and two males – Valente and Jupiter. The animals were born in the Park between 2000 and 2008, and belong to the second generation of the tapir breeding project launched by the Park in the late 1990s. The Ecological Park’s mission is to promote the conservation of biodiversity, while giving priority to the rehabilitation of animals and conservation of endangered species, besides conducting scientific research, assisting the reproduction and reintroduction of species in the environment, which could be conducted through partnerships such as this.
“The birth of the baby tapir is a strong sign of the short-term success of the Refauna Project. It shows that we are on the right path. And we’re not on this path alone, but with the Ecological Reserve, the entire community of Guapiaçu and partners who took care of the tapirs before they arrived here”, said Maron Galliez, coordinator of the Refauna Project and professor at the Federal Institute of Rio de Janeiro. “The baby is about 10 months old and it’s heartening to see him grow up”, concludes Galliez.
The first baby at the Guapiaçu Reserve comes from the couple Valente and Eva, hailing from Minas Gerais. Maron Galliez predicts that another puppy may arrive soon, since the other two animals from the Klabin Ecological Park – Flora and Jupiter – have also formed a couple and their behavior points to this possibility. “These developments prove the importance and the need for scientific projects and breeding sites that help repopulate the species in order to maintain the environmental balance. Klabin guides its actions towards a renewable future based on the preservation of biodiversity and the strengthening of its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals”, says Paulo Schmidlin, coordinator of the Klabin Ecological Park.
Tapirs are large animals, weighing between 200 kg and 300 kg, and are known as the “gardeners of nature” due to their essential role in maintaining the biodiversity of a biome, since they eat the fruits of trees and shrubs and spread the seeds along the way. The Refauna project’s mission is to return the animals raised in captivity to their natural habitats, for which partnerships with scientific conservation breeders are important. By returning the fauna, it is possible to restore the ecological processes lost due to the extinction of the species and thus make the Atlantic Forest of Rio de Janeiro a functionally balanced ecosystem once again.