World Tapir Day Date in the current year: April 27, 2024

World Tapir Day World Tapir Day is observed every April 27 to raise awareness of the four extant tapir species and the importance of their conservation, as well as to support tapir conservation projects that purchase land where tapirs occur to save their habitats from human encroachment.

Tapirs are large herbivorous mammals that belong to the genus Tapirus, which includes four extant species: the Baird’s tapir, the South American tapir, the mountain tapir, and the Malayan tapir. The Baird’s tapir is native to Mexico, Central America and parts of South America, the South American tapir and the mountain tapir are native to South America, and the Malayan tapir is native to Southeast Asia. The Baird’s tapir is the national animal of Belize.

In 2013, an academic paper was published announcing the discovery of the fifth tapir species in Colombia and Brazil. The authors of the paper named it the kabomani tapir. However, most scholars do not recognize it as a distinct species, and recent genetic evidence suggests that the kabomani tapir is actually nested within the South American tapir. In addition to the four extant tapir species, there are twenty fossil tapir species that went extinct millennia ago.

Most tapir species inhabit tropical rainforests, which have been destroyed by heavy logging, palm oil plantations and expansion of urban areas at an alarming rate. As large herbivores, tapirs are among the first species to be affected by the shrinkage of their habitat due to human activities, and among the last to return to regenerating rainforests. Another factor contributing to the decline of the species is poaching.

All tapir species are endangered, but they receive considerably less attention than many other endangered species that are a more common feature in zoos and the media. World Tapir Day was created by a group of wildlife conservation activists in 2008 to raise awareness of these amazing animal and encourage tapir conservation.

The date of World Tapir Day, April 27, coincides with the birthday of April, a Baird’s tapir who lived at the Belize Zoo from 1983 until her death at age 30 in 2013. Every year, the zoo would hold a party to celebrate April’s birthday and raise awareness of tapirs. Elvin Penner, the then-Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, even visited April’s birthday party in 2008.

World Tapir Day events and activities are organized by conservation activists and zoos across the world to honor these underdog mammals and raise funds for tapir conservation projects. If there are no events near you, don’t be upset! You can celebrate World Tapir Day by organizing an event of your own, participating in a virtual event, donating to a conservation project, or buying merch from the World Tapir Day Store.

Other ways to celebrate World Tapir Day include learning more about these amazing animals by watching documentaries or reading about tapirs online, and spreading awareness about tapirs and their endangered status on social media (don’t forget to use the hashtag #WorldTapirDay when doing so).

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