Celebrating tapirs!

It’s World Tapir Day and we’re celebrating the occasion with our loveable pair, Meena and Chico.

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Our duo, who are both 13 years-old are Brazilian tapirs, but there are another three species in the world – Malayan, Baird’s and mountain tapir, although all four are endangered and facing threats of hunting and habitat loss.

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Section Leader, Jay Haywood, said: “Tapirs are an herbivorous species and live in jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America and South East Asia so they’re usually among the first species affected by human activity for agriculture, mining, deforestation and road building.”

To mark the occasion DZG are raising funds for World Land Trust’s ‘Forest in the Sky’ appeal, which is raising money to protect Mountain tapir habitats in the wild in Ecuador.

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Throughout the past weekend and during today, ungulate keepers have been selling raffle tickets for visitors to win the chance to have a tickle a tapir experience.

Jay added: “We’re running the raffle again today, so if you’re visiting DZG, come and buy a ticket from us and maybe you’ll too also get the chance to tickle a tapir.”

dzg_tapir_meena_2Did you know….

  • Tapirs are closely related to horses and rhinoceroses and not anteaters, pigs or aardvarks and often mistaken for!

  • They are known as the ‘gardeners of the forest’ because they are important for dispersing seeds. Using their proboscises (small trunks) they delicately feed on leaves, buds, shoots and small branches.

  • They have a stiff, bristly mane which provides protection against the bite of a jaguar, their main predator.