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Saving a species: One company’s mission to save the Brazilian Tapir

In the pitch black night, a stout creature roams through the thick undergrowth of the Brazilian rainforest. Notoriously hard to spot, even at night when it is most active, the locals call it the sachavaca, literally translated as ‘bush cow’.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this was some species of wild boar. But in truth, this animal is more rhinoceros than swine. If you’ve ever seen a Tapir in the flesh, it is a sight you won’t soon forget. This shy creature is a bundle of paradoxes. Adorable, yet odd-looking. Heavy, yet light-footed. It is a now-endangered species that have roamed the planet for around 50 million years.

There were once many Brazilian Tapirs inhabiting the Atlantic Forest when it was a continuous forest spanning the 3,000 kilometers along the Brazilian coastline and stretching inwards as far as Paraguay and Argentina. Now, this once great forest is a shadow of its former self, and barely 7% remains in fragmented pieces. However, it still boasts biodiversity second only to the Amazon.

FSC-certified Brazilian company Klabin has dedicated resources to not only preserving forests such as this one but also to repopulate them with endemic species. In the 1990s the company launched a tapir reproduction project in the Samuel Klabin Ecological Park, to help increase the number of animals in the wild. 

In July of this year, three of these tapirs, Petrúquio, Flora and Ronaldo travelled over 1,000 kilometers to be released into the wild in Rio de Janeiro, a state where Tapirs have been extinct for over a century.

After a careful release, in collaboration with and supervised by the Refauna Project, the three inadvertent explorers are settling into their new home. Camera traps and tracking collars will remotely monitor their progress.

Klabin was the very first pulp and paper company to receive FSC forest management certification in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first Latin American company in the sector to achieve FSC certification throughout its entire supply chain.

For Klabin, the values championed by FSC run deeper than certification and form part of the company’s DNA. Its entire management is guided by the principles of sustainable development. “Investing in the preservation of biodiversity is part of our contribution to a renewable future and strengthens our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” says Klabin’s Sustainability and Environment manager, Júlio César Batista Nogueira.