MCLUS March 2010 Newsletter: Spotlight on the Tapir, Plus Fundraiser Success!

MCLUS logo

The Baird’s tapir is a highly symbolic animal for the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL) in Costa Rica and for MCLUS. It is the largest mammal in Cost Rica-about three times heavier then a jaguar! It symbolizes large mammals that need huge, undisturbed territory to survive. The Baird’s tapir was chosen to be the Monteverde Conservation League’s graphic logo because the Children’s Eternal Rainforest’s pristine habitat area is what is needed to preserve the tapir and other large mammal species. As we continue to expand and protect the preserve we increase the chances that populations of these large mammals will survive.

Rainforest Mammal Tracks

Study to Document Mammal Populations in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest

The tapir is one of many mammals that are part of a long-term study to track the repopulation of mammals in the “Protected Zone of Monteverde,” which includes the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, owned and protected by the Monteverde Conservation League and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. In 2000, the populations of paca, peccary, tapir, mountain lion (puma), and jaguar were estimated through tracking. During the study, maintenance staff, park guards, other employees, and volunteers of both organizations walked three kilometer transects in the reserves once every month, looking for the footprints of the mammals included in the study. Molds were taken of the footprints found within the transects using dental plaster (photos above). The study’s participants made observations of any additional prints found. Starting again in July 2009, the study began to collect new data, and upon completion of one year will compare the results to the data collected in 2000.

Children on tapir sculpture

Student ambassadors from 2008 trip to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest sit on statues of mama and baby tapir, outside of the Monteverde Conservation League office.

Fascinating Tapir Facts
…from the book Mammals of Costa Rica, by Mark Wainwright (pages 372-375)

  • tapir hides are 1.5 inches thick!
  • they are ~6.5 feet tall and weigh ~550 lb.
  • they live in areas that have cover, few people, and often near water
  • they can dive under water for 15-30 seconds and walk along the river bottom with their head above water
  • they spend most of their time foraging through understory, eating plants along the way
  • the young are reddish brown with white spots or streaks (camouflage for light patterns on the forest floor)
  • they are rare outside of protected areas, with possible only a few hundred in Costa Rica.

Tea Fundraiser a Success!

Tom Newmark with co-hostesses
Tom Newmark with co-hostesses (from left to right) Carol Teicher, Vangie Swan, DiAnne Drake and interim executive director, Laurie Waller

On February 7, 2010 a gathering of 70 people joined together in the St. Louis home of DiAnne Drake, a summer 2009 Children’s Eternal Rainforest trip participant. She was inspired by the idea to have a tea in memory of Rachel Crandell, former MCLUS President. Co-hostesses, Vangie Swan and Carol Teicher, who traveled on the same trip to the forest, served many cups of tea and a delicious array of home baked goods. Current interim executive director, Laurie Waller, told the story of Rachel’s dedication and how it carries on through the many hands sharing in the work. Tom Newmark, MCLUS board member, shared his commitment to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest and the importance of its continued expansion and protection.

MCLUS tea party

Tom Newmark, CEO of New Chapter and MCLUS board member shares his adventures in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest and talks about its ecological importance.

People who were not able to attend the memorial service appreciated the sense of ‘closure’ that the event brought and at the same time a sense of ‘opening’ into a new view of faces and friends. A total of over $7,000 was raised, when donations were matched by an anonymous gift. In addition a number of donations were made through sale of the cards made by the Forever Forest Group kids and the book The Forever Forest: Kids Save a Tropical Treasure, co-authored by Kristin Pratt-Serafini and Rachel Crandell.

Fresh puma tracks

Fresh puma tracks

Donate today for the mammals!
Please click here to donate online today or send a check to:
242 Old Sulphur Springs Road
Manchester, MO 63021

Your gift is greatly appreciated!
For the forest,
Friends and Board of MCLUS

Monteverde Conservation League US is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.