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South-American Tapir – the giant of the Amazon Rainforest


February 27, 2017

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Tapir – Photo: Andre Baertschi

Tapir – Photo: Andre Baertschi

The Amazon Rainforest is a land of giants. Giant trees, growing up to 60 meters tall; giant snakes growing up to 8 meters, like the Anaconda; giant ants growing up to 5cm like the Bullet Ant; and many more. The biggest terrestrial mammal found in south America –also one of the most bizarre looking ones- is the South-American Tapir.

While it might look like a cow with a weird nose at first glance –the local name is Sachavaca, which literally translates to similar-to-a-cow- Tapirs are more closely related to Rhinos than any other animal.

Tapir – Photo: Andre Baertschi

Tapir – Photo: Andre Baertschi

Despite their big size, they are very good at hiding and avoiding human contact, as they are hunted for the meat. Only in pristine places like Tambo Blanquillo – Private Reserve and the surrounding areas of Manu National Park, it is not uncommon to spot one of these majestic giants crossing the river or walking down a trail.

At Tambo Blanquilo – Private Reserve we have two good strategies to see them. The first one is our mammal clay-lick. Similar in function to our Blanquillo Claylick –where hundreds of parrots get their mineral intake out of the clay-, we have a claylick hidden in the forest that is visited mostly by mammals. These visitors include the Red-brocket Deers, Peccaries, Capybaras, small rodents, virtually all monkeys in the area, and of course, the tapir.

Our Mammal Clay-lick has a seasonal activity cycle, being more active in the wet season (November-March), but we highly recommend you to give it a try, as just the walk there could be considered an attraction on its own.

 

Mammal Clay-lick Infrastructure at Tambo Blanquilllo – Photo: Lucho Raffo

Mammal Clay-lick Infrastructure at Tambo Blanquilllo – Photo: Lucho Raffo

 

Mammal Clay-lick Infrastructure at Tambo Blanquilllo – Photo: Lucho Raffo

Mammal Clay-lick Infrastructure at Tambo Blanquilllo – Photo: Lucho Raffo

 

During 2016, we left a set of remote camera traps to capture the activity of this majestic place, here is a video of a Tapir visiting the Claylick at night. Stay tunned for a special blog featuring our best videos so far.

 

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7hN7jK66fqAaVk0SVkwSmZaYXc

The second strategy is Pipo. Pipo is a wild Tapir that sometimes visits Tambo Blanquillo, in search of some of the organic left-overs we have at the lodge. It is impossible to predict when it will show up. It sometimes visits for 10 days, and then disappear for 6 months. We haven’t seen Pipo in the last few months, and we hope he has all well, and away the reach of jaguars.
If you are interested in the extraordinary story of Pipo and how he survived from the hands of illegal loggers, don’t miss our next blogs of March 2017.

Pipo – Photo: Tambo Blanquillo

Pipo – Photo: Tambo Blanquillo

If you wish to come join us explore this amazing ecosystem, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

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