Public Release: 

Study indicates hunting restrictions for tapirs may not be enough

Zoological Society of San Diego

A published study indicates that lowland tapir populations may continue to drop in French Guiana, despite recent restrictions on hunting. Researchers from the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage in French Guiana and San Diego Zoo Global reviewed data retrieved from camera traps in the Nouragues National Reserve over the last four years and compared this data to current harvest rates in the region.

"In 2011, restrictions were placed on hunting tapirs in French Guiana," said Matthias Tobler, a scientist with the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. "Although these restrictions are an important step, our study indicates that tapir populations in many areas might still be at risk of overhunting."

The study, which was published in the August issue of Oryx, a conservation journal, suggests that additional hunting restrictions are needed in the region for tapir populations to be protected.

The Amazonian moist forest, which covers most of French Guiana, is one of the core habitats for the lowland tapir. The tapir is the largest herbivore found in the Amazon forest and is considered to be vulnerable to extinction. The range of the lowland tapir covers large parts of South America, including 11 countries and 25 ecoregions in six biomes.

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The Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage is the French government agency in charge of wildlife research and management for all of France, including French Guiana. Its main research goals are the improvement of management practices, conservation issues and sustainable use of wildlife.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

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