Extinct Animals : Tapir
Tapirs are related to horses and rhinos, not to pigs. There are four species, three of which are found in Central and South America. Tapirs can weigh up to 300 kg.
The Malayan tapir is the largest of the species and is distinguished by its unusual coloration. The rear half of the body above the legs is white. All young tapirs are born, however, with a pattern of dots and stripes on their body which makes them appear, in the words of one zoologist, like “watermelons with legs.” As they get older, these markings gradually fade away to be replaced by the permanent colours.
Shy and solitary by nature, tapirs are often hunted in their native countries for their hide, which is tough and leathery. In some parts of Asia, tapir meat is sold in the shops, although it is said to be less than tasty, with a high fat content.
The New World species seem to be headed toward extinction as the advance of civilization destroys their environment and as native people hunt them, sometimes just for sport. The Malayan species does not, for the time being at least, appear to be endangered. Now legally protected, the species nevertheless continues to be the target of poachers due to lax enforcement.