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The Baird's Tapir Project of Costa Rica

The Tapirs

The tapirs in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica, are herbivores; they eat leaves, stems, and fruits. They have also been seen sucking on the sap of certain tree species. They spend most of their time eating in secondary forest rather than the primary forest. A possible reason for this is that the vegetation in secondary forest is much softer and easier to digest.

During the day you will find Sirena tapirs sleeping in mud holes. They have even been seen sleeping with caymans in some of the very wet mud pits! Sleeping in these holes is much cooler and keeps some of the bugs down. Tapirs wake up and start moving around 4 PM. They are most active from 4PM to 5AM. The tapirs will visit the beach at least once a day. A reason for this beach visit may be to obtain salt and minerals from the ocean. This, by the way, is the best place to see the tapirs: on the beach around sunrise (4:30AM) or sunset (5:30 PM).

The tapirs at Sirena Biological Station in Costa Rica have a unique ungulate (hooved mammal) mating system. They seem to be monogamous (a pair of tapirs only mate with each other). Genetic tests are needed to confirm that the tapirs are momogomous. This makes tapirs in Corcovado special because it has only been seen around Sirena Biological Station in Costa Rica.

You can see on the zone map that there are several different zones surrounding Sirena Biological Station. Each zone has a family group, a male and female tapir with their offspring. You can find up to 5 tapirs in each zone at one time.

Read the bios of tapirs near Sirena...