The health of a population of free-ranging tapirs (Tapirus bairdii) inhabiting Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica, was assessed as part of an ongoing ecologic study. Nineteen tapirs were immobilized between March 1997 and February 2000, and samples of blood, skin biopsies, and ectoparasites were collected. Ticks were identified as Amblyomma oblongoguttatum or A. coelebs. Hematology and serum biochemistry results suggest statistically significant differences between free-ranging and captive populations that should be interpreted with caution in view of inherent environmental differences between the two populations. Five of 17 animals tested positive for Leptospira bratislava, and 12 individuals tested positive for Venezuelan equine encephalitis. One of nine skin biopsies examined was abnormal and diagnosed as leukoderma. This report represents the first health assessment of a free-ranging population of tapirs.
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Vol. 36 • No. 2