Patrícia Medici has dedicated her life to the conservation of the lowland tapir, the largest land mammal of South America. She established her tapir conservation efforts in Brazil in 1996, fresh out of college. At that moment, there was hardly any information available about these animals. This was mostly because they are so difficult to study because they are nocturnal animals and live solitary lives. Therefore, Patrícia and her team from the Institute for Ecological Research (IPE) set out the challenging job to carry out research and promote the conservation of tapirs in Brazil.
“Winning the Future For Nature Award was a critical step towards establishing the LTCI in the Pantanal and strengthening our tapir conservation efforts in Brazil. The financial assistance guaranteed a large proportion of the costs of the programme, while the recognition provided by this award was instrumental in positioning the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative as a conservation model in Brazil.” – Patrícia Medici
Vision and Approach
In 2008, Patrícia established the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI). Tapirs need a large habitat in order to find all the resources they need to reproduce and survive. Currently, they are threatened by poaching, habitat destruction and fragmentation, and roadkill among other threats. This is a major issue given the fact that tapirs are extremely important for the ecosystems they live in. They help shape and maintain biological diversity in their habitat because of the large amount of fruit and seeds they eat and disperse. Therefore, tapirs are known as ‘the gardeners of the forest’. Patrícia and the LTCI team aim to establish tapir conservation programmes in other Brazilian biomes where the species is found.
Impact of the Future For Nature Award
- The financial support of the Future For Nature Award made it possible to expand the LTCI to the Pantanal. The LTCI is funded by a multitude of grants from a number of organizations from all over the world. Keeping the programme running requires a constant fundraising effort and feedback to donors.
- The financial assistance from Future For Nature covered a large proportion of the costs of the establishment of the LTCI Pantanal Programme.
- The recognition provided by the Future For Nature Award was instrumental in positioning the LTCI as a conservation model in Brazil.
“Although still relatively young, Patrícia’s scientific abilities are very strong. More importantly, however, she is able to bring together diverse people with different interests and objectives and rally them around a common goal. This is extremely important in conservation. This award will help strengthen her position and credibility and lend credence to the goals she is fighting for.” – 2008, Annette Lanjouw, International Selection Commitee