As large herbivores, tapirs are invariably the first species affected by human encroachment into their territory, and amongst the last to return to regrowth forest. They require substantial tracts of undisturbed land to maintain a genetically-diverse population. Tapirs inhabit jungles, grasslands, swamps and cloud forests, yet each is threatened by human activity - be that mining, palm oil plantations, roads or settlements. They form an important part of the ecosystem as seed dispersers, and form one of the oldest surviving genera in the animal kingdom.
Despite their size, history and ecological importance, tapirs remain one of the least recognised species of animals. In comparison with other animals, tapirs feature little in the collective consciousness and are frequently misidentified by zoo visitors. Even in their home ranges, tapirs receive little attention, with exotic species featuring more prominently in zoos, children's books and the media.
All tapirs are endangered species. Saving tapirs helps to save the rainforest. Saving rainforests helps to save the planet and prevent climate change.