A tapir ( TAY-pər) is a large, herbivorous mammal, similar in shape to a pig, with a short, prehensile nose trunk. Tapirs inhabit jungle and forest regions of South and Central America, with one species inhabiting Southeast Asia.
Adult tapirs are large enough to have few natural predators, and the thick skin on the backs of their necks helps to protect them from threats such as jaguars, crocodiles, anacondas, and tigers. The creatures are also able to run fairly quickly, considering their size and cumbersome appearance, finding shelter in the thick undergrowth of the forest or in water. Hunting for meat and hides has substantially reduced their numbers and, more recently, habitat loss has resulted in the conservation watch-listing of all four species; the Brazilian tapir is classified as vulnerable, and Baird's tapir, the mountain tapir, and the Malayan tapir are endangered. According to 2022 study published in the Neotropical Biology and Conservation, the lowland tapir in the Atlantic Forest is at risk of complete extinction as a result of anthropogenic pressures, in particular hunting, deforestation and population isolation.