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Tapirs (extant/living species; Tapirus spp.) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Husbandry

Tapirs in zoos

  • Lowland tapir most common species in managed care
  • Mountain tapir is extremely rare – only 4 zoos exhibit this species (from 2009):
    • L.A. = 5
    • S.F. = 2
    • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 2
    • Mountain View Conservation and Breeding, Fort Langley BC, Canada = 2
  • Baird's tapir (Jan. 2011-May 2012, in AZA 2011):
    • 125 individuals (not including 2 juveniles or unknown gender) in 48 AZA institutions
    • 80 males; 45 females
  • Malayan/Asian tapir (Jan. 2011-May 2012, in AZA 2013):
    • 49 individuals
    • 23 males; 26 females
  • At San Diego Zoo Global
    • Baird's tapir:
      • Currently (Jan. 2011-May 2012, in AZA 2011): 1 male; 1 female
    • Malayan/Asian tapir:
      • First, a male and a female, aquired in 1940
      • Currently (as of Jan. 2013, in AZA 2013): 1 male; 1 female
  • First record in managed care – T. terrestris at the London Zoo 1828.
  • Successful in multi-species exhibits : can co-exist with capybaras, agoutis rheas, storks egrets, geese, maned wolves and small primates.
  • Breed well into their 20’s. A female T. indicus at the San Diego Zoo gave birth to 15th offspring at age 30 (Barongi 1993).
  • Record lifespan = 35 years T. terrestris at miejski Ogrod Zoologiczny (Wroclaw, Poland).

Tapirs at the San Diego Zoo

At Home in Water

Young Malayan tapir swimming

Tapirs have a fondness for swimming and wallowing in mud.

These exhibit elements should be offered to individuals housed in managed care.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

AZA (2011)
AZA (2013)
Barongi (1993)
Todd and Matola (2001)

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