If you were asked to name an animal that was black and white, the most likely answer that would come to mind would probably be a panda or even a zebra. At times you would hear “A tapir!” followed by some puzzled murmurs – “What is that?”
Next to the cute, furry panda, our Malayan tapir is not the media darling of the endangered animal kingdom. In fact, it is one of the least recognised species and is often misunderstood. This is an animal that looks different and has a bit of an identity issue.
Why The Tapir?
The tapir has been mistaken for many different animals, such as ant-eaters and even pigs with prolonged snouts. Within their group of sub-species, there are some that are black and white. Others are grey or brown. The baby tapir even looks different than its parent, having a brown coat of fur with light stripes and spots. On top of that, it is a relative of rhinoceroses and horses!
The tapir is indeed a very unique animal and one that we chose to write a book about. It became our inspiration. Both Farah and I are married to husbands from different cultural backgrounds. Seeing that mixed children are often asked about their looks due to their mixed parentage, we had the idea to write a storybook about how some children look different from their parents – just like the baby tapir. We wished to address the issue of being different and how one can appreciate their own uniqueness and identity in today’s diverse world.
We also wanted to teach the younger generation to appreciate nature and what we have now before it disappears. Our aim is to cultivate nature-loving kids who will be more aware of the environment and universal values, such as kindness and respecting our animal friends. Creating awareness in children is the seed of conservation. Through our stories, we hope we can find a way to raise awareness about endangered animals such as the tapirs in a child-friendly way.
“Why Don’t I Look Like You?”, is a story about a little tapir called Timo and his mother. They go on a journey of self-discovery, in search of animals who look different from their mothers, just like him. The book shares various facts about tapirs and helps raise awareness on how important this endangered animal is to our ecological system.
“All tapirs are endangered species. Saving tapirs helps to save the rainforest. Saving rainforests helps to save the planet and prevent climate change.” – tapirday.org
By Abyan Junus-Nishizawa and Farah Landemaine
Abyan and Farah are the authors of ‘Why Don’t I Look Like You?’
In conjunction with World Tapir Day today, makchic readers can get 15% off this lovely book. Just ‘like’ their Facebook page or Instagram, message them and mention ‘makchic’, to receive a promo code. Valid until 27th May 2018, so get the book today!