Interaction behavior and vocalization of the baird’s tapir Tapirus bairdii from Talamanca, Costa Rica

Diego A. Gómez-Hoyos, Sergio Escobar-Lasso, Esteban Brenes-Mora, Jan Schipper, José F. González-Maya


Baird’s tapir is considered globally endangered, but most aspects of its ecology and natural history are still unknown. There are scarce previous reports regarding interaction behavior and vocalization for the species; this work is considered the first detailed description of call not only for T. bairdii, but the first for a tapir in the wild. Here we present observations on interaction behavior and the analyses of the first wild vocalizations for Baird’s Tapir from Talamanca, Costa Rica. We distinguish two types of calls. The first call was composed of two notes (average 0.625 ± 0.069 s and 0.323 ± 0.080 s, respectively) with a dominant frequency of 4,940 ± 248.3 Hz. The second call was composed of a single note (average 1.121±0.063) with a dominant frequency of 6,471 ± 704.1 Hz. Interaction is probably due to resource availability, and vocalizations likely reflect communication between bonding pairs or to avoid agonistic behavior. These observations provide clues into social interaction and use of vocal traits for communication among wild tapirs, as well as may contribute for future analyses regarding the phylogenetic signal within the genus.

Keywords: Bonding pairs, communication, Perissodactyla, social interaction.

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