On the forest slopes of Volcan Tenorio and Volcan Miravalles in northwestern Costa Rica lives a keystone species: The humble tapir. These mud-bath loving creatures have prehensile snouts and odd-toed hooves. This one was filmed resting, roaming, and foraging by filmmaker James Wolfe, who narrates.
The Costa Rica Wildlife Foundation describes the herbivore’s importance:
“Wherever live tapirs, lives hope for tropical forests. This hope comes as a lovely package full of the seeds and nutrients that are key for maintaining and restoring tropical forests. The package is commonly known as dung. Fantastic dung, I would add. Tapirs, the architects of the forests, help spread necessary nutrients to keep forests alive – just by eating, and pooping.
“And while Tapirs help keep forests alive and well around the world, their dung holds special value in the Guanacaste Mountain Range of Costa Rica. In these mountains, the survival of the rare, endemic, and endangered Jicaro Danto trees (Parmentiera valerii) depend on Tapirs…”
As Wolfe explains, the tree’s fruit resembles an oversized pickle or cucumber, and grows right from the trees’ trunks. This botanical trait is called cauliflory.
The Baird’s tapir and the endemic Cacho de Danto tree are both considered to be endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The video also features a nectar bat that pollinates the Jicaro Danto trees’ flowers as it drinks nectar.
Watch these related videos next on TKSST:
• The Tube-Lipped Nectar Bat has a crazy-long tongue
• A spotty baby Malayan tapir at the Prague Zoo
• Why do tapirs like being underwater?
• The Agouti: Seed Disperser of the Rainforest
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