Entries in #tapir (2)


A Trip Into Corcovado National  Park

Landing in Puerto Jimenez the girl, who is also a fellow volunteer, climbing out of the small plane that held myself, three other passengers and the pilot turns to me and says “Even the air smells green”. She is right; I have never been anywhere where you are so surrounded by nature day and night before.

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Who is Baird’s?

During my trip to Corcovado national park I saw Costa Rica's largest terrestrial mammal, the Baird's Tapir, as well as many species of birds, including the Baird's Trogan. After returning to camp I decided to do some research into who Baird was and why he has a variety of species named after him.

Spencer Fullerton Baird was an American naturalist in the 1800's and also a museum curator who studied many fields of natural history. He became the first curator at the smithsonian institute where he dedicated his time to expanding their natural history collection, when he started they had roughly 6000 specimens and he increased this to over 2 million by the time of his death. While doing so he also published over 1000 works on all types of animals and species, including snakes and birds which are still being used as benchmark publications in North American herpetology and ornithology. Due to Baird's impressive collection and success at the smithsonian, the American congress approved construction for the first national museum building.

Baird's work has lead to many new species of animals being discovered, large advances in taxonomy and also inspiring many future researchers, as well as the American public, to take an interest in natural history. This has left him with a legacy of 17 species being named after him as well as a taxonomy genus. Much of his work was based on species from Central America which lead to several species there being named after him, including in Costa Rica. This has enabled his legacy to live on when volunteers, locals and tourists visit places like Corcovado national park to see the famous Baird's Tapir.

By Kiefer Page - Volunteer

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