Food selection of the Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) under semi-wild conditions

Boyd K. Simpson, Shukor Md. Nor, David Magintan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A study on the selection of food plants by captive Malayan tapirs (Tapirus indicus) was undertaken in a 30 hectare natural forest enclosure at the Sungai Dusun Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia. Tapirs browsed on 217 species of plants (from 99 genera and 49 families) from a total of the 1142 specimens collected and identified. Food plants were heavily dominated by sapling trees and shrubs which comprised 93% of all plants taken, with the remainder comprising woody lianas, vines and herbaceous plants. Although tapirs browsed on a wide variety of plant species, the top 30 species consumed represented more than 60% of all the plants selected, whilst the vast majority of species were rarely eaten. More than 80 species of trees and shrubs were available, but not eaten at all. The most readily consumed species were the sub-canopy and understorey trees Xerospermum noronhianum, Aporosa prainiana and Baccaurea parviflora, while Aporosa, Knema and Xerospermum were the dominant plant genera. The Phyllanthaceae (leaf flowers), Myristicaceae (nutmegs) and Sapindaceae (rambutans) were the most commonly selected families comprising 45% of the diet. Tapirs fed on saplings trees up to 8.3 m in height, while plants taller than about 1.6 m were bent, broken or pushed to the ground to gain access to the foliage. Sapling stems up to 4.2 cm in diameter could be snapped by biting, while larger trees to 7 cm diameter could be pushed down. Tapirs typically fed on the newer leaves and shoots, however, often only consuming half of the available foliage on a plant. This study documents 160 new plant species suitable as Malayan tapir food, and is consistent with the generalist, but selective browsing nature of the Tapirus species in general.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIP Conference Proceedings
Pages317-324
Number of pages8
Volume1571
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event2013 UKM Faculty of Science and Technology Post-Graduate Colloquium - Selangor
Duration: 3 Jul 20134 Jul 2013

Other

Other2013 UKM Faculty of Science and Technology Post-Graduate Colloquium
CitySelangor
Period3/7/134/7/13

Fingerprint

food
foliage
leaves
wildlife
Malaysia
diets
canopies
enclosure
stems

Keywords

  • Feeding behavior
  • Food selection
  • Malayan tapir
  • Ungulate diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Simpson, B. K., Md. Nor, S., & Magintan, D. (2013). Food selection of the Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) under semi-wild conditions. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 1571, pp. 317-324) https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4858676

Food selection of the Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) under semi-wild conditions. / Simpson, Boyd K.; Md. Nor, Shukor; Magintan, David.

AIP Conference Proceedings. Vol. 1571 2013. p. 317-324.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Simpson, BK, Md. Nor, S & Magintan, D 2013, Food selection of the Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) under semi-wild conditions. in AIP Conference Proceedings. vol. 1571, pp. 317-324, 2013 UKM Faculty of Science and Technology Post-Graduate Colloquium, Selangor, 3/7/13. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4858676
Simpson BK, Md. Nor S, Magintan D. Food selection of the Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) under semi-wild conditions. In AIP Conference Proceedings. Vol. 1571. 2013. p. 317-324 https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4858676
Simpson, Boyd K. ; Md. Nor, Shukor ; Magintan, David. / Food selection of the Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) under semi-wild conditions. AIP Conference Proceedings. Vol. 1571 2013. pp. 317-324
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