T. indicus is restricted to tropical moist forest and wetland areas.
These shy, solitary animals are nocturnal and highly sensitive to forest fragmentation. They browse on more than 380 different species, often breaking 8-10 m tall trees to access the leaves. Primary threats to the species are large scale deforestation for palm oil and rubber plantations, and increasingly, hunting. Tapir population have declined over 50% in the last 3 generations.