A decade of research proved what indigenous tribes have long known: a diminutive tapir that inhabits open grasslands and forests in Colombia and Brazil is distinct from the larger Brazilian tapir. The species is named Tapirus kabomani after the name for “tapir” in the local Paumari language: “Arabo kabomani.”
Described in the Journal of Mammalogy, the Kobomani tapir is the fifth tapir found in the world and the first to be discovered since 1865. It is also the first mammal in the order Perissodactyla (which includes tapirs, rhinos, and horses) found in over a hundred years. Moreover, this is the largest land mammal to be uncovered in decades: in 1992 scientists discovered the saola in Vietnam and Cambodia, a rainforest bovine that is about the same size as the new tapir.