Baird’s Tapir Tapirus bairdii The Baird’s tapir is an ungulate with a bulky body, short legs, and a head with a short, flexible proboscis. It lives in dense forests and grassy areas of Central and South America and Asia. When tapirs are threatened, they flee to the water or into dense underbrush for safety. Their squeal seems to be a means of communication with other members of the family group in the thick foliage of the rain forest. They feed on leaves, fruit, and other vegetation. The only enemies of tapirs, in addition to humans, are members of the cat family. Habitat loss, due to clear-cutting has brought Baird’s tapirs to the edge of extinction.