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The Baird's Tapir Project of Costa Rica

Project Leader Kendra Bauer

I am currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. I did my undergrad at the University of Kentucky and worked as a vet. tech. at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center for three years after graduating. Fossil Rim is a drive through animal park similar to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of endangered species. Fossil Rim is an American Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) facility. This means that they have a high standard of care that they are required to give their animals. While working at Fossil Rim, I met several people from different areas of the world. One of which was Tatiana Aponte, she lived in Peru and talked about her interest in the tapir! I said, tapir why a tapir! She told me that there was very little information on this species and that they are one of the largest terrestrial mammals in South America. I instantly knew this is what I wanted to work on, a species that needed researchers to investigate some of the basic life history traits to help them with its conservation. Within a year I was on my way to the 2nd International Tapir Symposium and then on my way to Costa Rica to help out with the Baird's tapir project with Charles Foerster. When I stepped into Costa Rica I was bitten by the bug, so to speak. I knew it would be hard to leave. I got to sit and watch the tapir and learn their daily activities.

I had to do this full time, so I applied to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin and have been working on my PhD since September 2004. I have been to yet another tapir symposium and several other conservation symposiums since then. My goal is to continue my research with the tapir and then work on other endangered species to help gain basic data that is essential for conservation. I am currently also working on the Endangered American Burying Beetle here in Texas trying to figure out its population size migration and if there was a bottleneck using cutting edge genetic techniques.

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