The endangered Asian, or Malayan, tapir (Tapirus indicus) is the only surviving Old World species within the world's 4 species of tapir. It is characterised by its long prehensile nose and distinctive black and white colouration which it is believed breaks up the outline of the body in the gloom of the dense forests in which it lives.
Formerly ranging across Southeast Asia, the tapir today exists as a series of isolated populations in Malaysia, western Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar. Thailand's total population is anticipated (there has been no indepth research) to be less than 250 animals, putting it that dangerous category of being as rare as the wild tiger in Thailand. Indeed its worldwide population is estimated at 1500-2000 adults, which is significantly less than the worldwide population of tigers. A truely endangered animal whose existance in Thailand is as a direct result of Thailand's extensive National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary system, and the ongoing protection of those areas.
The animals are mainly nocturnal but are known to be active diurnally as well. Our own experiences in the Kaeng Krachan National Park have all been nocturnal incidences and we have photographed this individual before. About 6 months ago he was showing terrible scarring on his torso and front leg, from an encounter presumably with a predator or another male Tapir, as they are known to fight fiercly. This is the first time we have captured his image since and thankfully his open wounds (not visible in this photograph) have now fully healed.
For more detailed information and insights regarding the Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus), click on the following links: