Meet Manga and Caroço, tapirs monitored by IPAM at the Tanguro Farm24.11.2021 • News
Two more tapirs, Manga and Caroço – named after the mango fruit and its seed -, are now part of the group of animals of the species monitored by researchers from the Tanguro Tapir project, a partnership between IPAM (Amazon Environmental Research Institute) and IPÊ (Ecological Research Institute) at the Tanguro Experimental Field Station, in Querência, Mato Grosso state.
Manga and Caroço are mother and cub and they were found eating mangoes from a pile on the ground, near the researchers’ homes. They are monitored by the project along with other tapirs: Luigi and Zé Trovão, adult males; Leo, male offspring; and Sasha, Paquita and Nicole – females, the first adult, and the last two cubs.
“The team gives the tranquilizer to the tapir and, when the tapir goes to sleep, we blindfold them to calm them down. We perform a blood check , to evaluate their overall health conditions, and then we put on the GPS radio monitoring collar. After that, we monitor the animal until it fully wakes up from the tranquilizer effect”, explains the researcher from IPAM and the Woodwell Climate Research Center, Ludmila Rattis, who is also coordinator at Tanguro. “This is very important for us to know how much tapirs walk, what’s their home range, population size, their habitat preferences (e.g. for open and closed canopy), what do they eat and so on.”
The Tanguro Tapir project is part of a long term ecological project financed by the CNPq (Brazil’s National Council for Scientific and Technological Development), and it seeks to understand the impacts of deforestation and degradation of natural vegetation on the biodiversity of mammals, birds, fish and insects.
Studied at the experimental farm since January 2016, the tapirs play a role in the recovery of deteriorated areas. “We published the first article in 2019 showing that they disperse seeds in areas degraded by fire, helping it to recover”, says Rattis. The volume of seeds dispersed by the tapir population in Tanguro corresponded, at that time, to 10% of that used in restoration projects in the region.
“This result got the attention of Patricia Medici [biologist and founder of the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative], who has been working with tapirs for more than two decades. She was expanding her work to the Amazon and asked to include Tanguro as a study site. We started in August 2021 and the first individuals are now being monitored”, adds the researcher and coordinator.
So far there are five animals with the GPS collar: Manga, Luigi, Zé Trovão, Léo e Sasha. Caroço, Paquita e Nicole are still too small to wear the accessory.