Daily and seasonal activity of the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) in the Central Andes of Colombia

Authors

  • Diego J. Lizcano,

    1. Laboratorio de Ecología Vegetal, Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad de los Andes, AA 4976, Bogotá, Colombia
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  • Jaime Cavelier

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratorio de Ecología Vegetal, Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad de los Andes, AA 4976, Bogotá, Colombia
    2. Wildlife Conservation Society, 185th Street and Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York, NY 10460, U.S.A.
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All correspondence to: Jaime Cavelier, 2828 Connecticut Avenue NW, Apartment 608, Washington, DC 20008, U.S.A. E-mail: jcavelie@earthlink.net

Abstract

Daily and seasonal activity of the mountain tapir Tapirus pinchaque was measured along trails and at two salt licks in mature and secondary montane forests of the Central Andes of Colombia using active and passive infrared monitors. Daily activity of the mountain tapir showed a clear bimodal pattern, with maxima during the early hours of the day (5:00–7:00) and early hours of the evening (18:00–20:00). This bimodal activity pattern has also been found in radio-tracking studies of T. terrestris and T. bairdii. Overall, there was more activity in mature than in secondary forest and at lower (3100 m) than higher altitudes (3600 m). Night-time activity was higher during full moon than during quarter and new moons. There was no correlation between monthly rainfall and seasonal activity. The time the mountain tapir was at the salt licks varied between 1 and 190 min. Daily activity at Quebrada Paraiso salt lick (3400 m) showed a clear bimodal pattern with maxima around midnight (0:00–2:00) and midday (11:00–14:00). These patterns of diurnal and nocturnal activity of the mountain tapir could be used in combination with future radio-tracking studies to better understand habitat use by this species.

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