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St. Michael's College

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation


The andean tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) is a threatened species, in Ecuador it is considered in critical danger of extinction(Cr). In the town of Oyacachi located within the boarders of the National Park Cayambe-Coca on the eastern cordillera of the Andes of Ecuador, a study was created analyzing the fecal contents of T. pinchaque. The study was carried out during the month of November, 2011 by walking 4 transects once ever week where data was collected on observations of fenology and fauna. Along the transects feces samples were collected and the location where they were found was described. Using a digital balance the fresh and dried weight of the samples was determined and the samples were then classified for frequency and weight of content (fibers, leaves, stems, seeds, flowers, roots and various). Four samples were collected, but only three of them were analyzed, each one weighing 500g freshly collected. A high concentration of fibers were found in the samples, but there was also a significant number of leaf parts and stems as well. 2318 fibers were identified in sample #1, 2329 in sample #2 and 3587 in sample #3, these were the content most often found in the samples. A significant number of seeds were also found in each of the samples for a total of 248 seeds in the three samples. Fresh samples to analyze were only found in Transect #1-Tzinilarca. The high concentration of fibers found could contribute to data discussing the digestive system of the andean tapir and its low efficiency. Also the seeds found in the feces samples could contribute to a better understanding of the role of the andean tapir as a seed disperser and ratify the crucial part they play as one of the only large mammals in their habitat. The seeds were not identified to a taxonomic level in this study, but a continuation of these data would be useful in the future for statistically significant results.



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