Wildlife:: The Tapir

Tapir

Tapir

Tapirs inhabit jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia. There are four species of Tapirs: the Brazilian tapir, the Malayan tapir (which we find in Indonesia), Baird’s tapir and the Mountain tapir. All four species of tapir are classified as endangered or vulnerable. Their closest relatives are the other odd-toed ungulates, including horses and rhinoceroses.

Size varies between types, but most tapirs are about 2 metres long, stand about a metre high at the shoulder, and weigh between 150 and 300 kg. Coats are short and range in color from reddish-brown to grey to nearly black, with the notable exceptions of the Malayan Tapir, which has a white saddle-shaped marking on its back, and the Mountain Tapir, which has longer, woolly fur. All tapirs have oval, white-tipped ears, rounded, protruding rumps with stubby tails, and splayed, hoofed toes, with four toes on the front feet and three on the hind feet, which help them walk on muddy and soft ground. Baby tapirs of all types have striped-and-spotted coats for camouflage. Females have a single pair of mammary glands.

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Giraffe – The Cameleopard

Giraffe at sunrise in Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Giraffes feeding on leaves, acacia trees are among its favorite food. At sunrise in Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

How about some images of giraffes, the tallest animal walking the earth?

These are images I took during a visit to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve in South Africa a while ago. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi is located 280 km north of Durban, and is the oldest proclaimed park in Africa.

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Lions vs Giraffe

Young male lions feeding on a fresh kill; a giraffe. Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Young male lions feeding on a fresh kill; a giraffe. Kruger National Park, South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

It was our last day in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, and early in the morning we were heading through the park towards the Paul Kruger Gate in a large tourist bus when all traffic suddenly came to a full stop.

Looking out of the window I could clearly see the reason why; a small group of three young male lions had very recently brought down an adult giraffe, and were feeding on the carcass just a few meters from the roadside. A red track of blood could be followed to the other side of the road, were the actual kill had taken place.

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Wildlife:: The Orangutan

Indonesia, Sumatra. Bukit Lawang. Gunung Leuser National Park. The orangutan sanctuary of Bukit Lawang is located inside the park. At the feeding platform eating bananas. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Indonesia, Sumatra. Bukit Lawang. At the feeding platform eating bananas. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The name Orangutan can be translated to “man from the forest”. In the Malay language (the official language of Malaysia and Indonesia) “orang” means man and “hutan” means forest. Today the orangutans are only found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, but once they probably inhabited all of South-East Asia. Their natural habitat is the rainforest, and in contrast to other great apes they spend most of their life in the trees.

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Wildlife:: The Tarsier

Tarsier climbing a tree

Tarsier climbing a tree

Tarsiers are primates of the genus Tarsius, in the family Tarsiidae, which is itself the lone extant family within the infraorder Tarsiiformes. Although the group was once more widespread, all the species living today are found in the islands of Southeast Asia.

Tarsier evolutionary history

Fossils of tarsiers and tarsiiform primates are found in Asia, Europe, and North America, and there are disputed fossils from Africa, but extant tarsiers are restricted to several Southeast Asian islands including the Philippines, Sulawesi, Borneo, and Sumatra. They also have the longest continuous fossil record of any primate genus, and the fossil record indicates that their dentition has not changed much, except in size, in the past 45 million years.

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Sumatra:: Bohorok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center

Indonesia, Sumatra. Bukit Lawang. Gunung Leuser National Park. The orangutan sanctuary of Bukit Lawang is located inside the park. A young orangutan. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Indonesia, Sumatra. Bukit Lawang. Gunung Leuser National Park. The orangutan sanctuary of Bukit Lawang is located inside the park. A young orangutan. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The Bohorok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center was started in 1973 by two Swiss zoologists, Regina Frey and Monica Boerner, and funded by Frankfurt Zoological Society and WWF. The intention was to help orangutans that had been displaced due to land clearing or recovered from captivity. In the first years they had great success in the four steps of rehabilitation; removal from captivity, a quarantine of at least three months, release into the forest around the center and finally taken deep into the rainforest to be released into the wild permanently.

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