|South American Tapir, Tapirus terrestris|
He's a water baby and a relative of the rhinoceros. Tapir love the water. They play, swim, dive, and use it to protect themselves from predators.
Their feet are specially designed for swimming and walking on muddy shores. Each of their front feet has four splayed toes, a bit like having a fin or snowshoe on your feet. Their back feet have a similar design but with three toes. They nap and hide in the forest during the day and then head out at night to munch on leaves, shoots, fruit, and other green goodies in the Amazon Rainforest and the River Basin in South America, east of the Andes.
They can be found in Venezuela, Colombia, and the Guianas in the north to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay in the south, to Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador in the west. Three species of Tapir call Columbia home and much of the scientific research is focussed on this area. They're also hiring if you'd like to get more involved. While many find them adorable, sadly, they are also appreciated for their beautiful coats. Their dwindling numbers are largely due to poaching for their meat and hide, as well as habitat destruction. If I had the means, I'd buy up a big chunk of land where they could roam free. Some folks are helping and you can, too. There is a Tapir Preservation Fund set-up to aid these cuties with additional habitat. I'll pop the link here so you can check them out. They have a Facebook page and on it, there is the sweetest video of a Tapir sitting in the waves watching the sunset. Do check it out. It's very sweet.
Tapir Specialist Group: https://tapirs.org/conservation/tsgcf/
TSG Brazil: Rua Lindóia, 79046-150 Campo Grande, Brazil / +55 67 3344-0240