Wild Encounters

Malayan Tapir

Micah: We're back with Wild Encounters.  We took a little bit of a break.  We were gone for a little bit of the winter, the holidays, but now we're back.  People have been clamoring for it, asking when is Wild Encounters returning?  Well, we're here right now and I'm back with Alyson, one of your favorites at home, one of our favorite zookeepers.  We have a really cool animal behind us, a unique one that we were joking earlier that it's really hard to describe what it looks like because it is so unique, the tapir.  So tell us about this tapir we have behind us.

Alyson: So this is Pulau.  He's actually our newer tapir.  We have a male and a female.  The female is Daniella.  She's in the back right now so just Pulau's out.  The reason they're not together is we're working on introducing them together.  It's a really slow process but we're trying to make them be friends.

Micah: So that look that the tapir has, we were kind of going a little rhinoceros, a little elephant, a little anteater, a little pony.  How would you describe it?

Alyson:  So I like to say they kind of look like a pig-shaped, pony-sized, anteater-nosed, panda-colored creature.  They're really unique.  That nose is actually a lot like a trunk of an elephant.  It can kind of move around.  It's all muscle so it's really unique.  And when they're in the water, they actually use it as a snorkel.

Micah:  So a water-dwelling animal as well.  It doesn't exactly look like a swimmer but can swim?

Alyson:  Yes.  They are actually very buoyant in the water and they like to float down to the bottom of the pond and so they spend a lot of time in the water.

Micah:  And where do these animals come from?

Alyson:  These are from Malaysia, the Asia areas, a couple areas over there.  They're actually the only tapir that's from Asia.

Micah:  And so we have the male and female here looking to breed, is this an endangered animal that needs that help with increasing their population?

Alyson:  Yes, they are.  Yep.  And that's actually why we got Pulau because it was recommended to us that he should breed with Daniella because their genetics are very compatible.

Micah:  And you joked with me earlier, not exactly the most graceful animal either.

Alyson:  No, not at all.  They're just like me.  They trip over nothing.

Micah:  So come down here, see Pulau, see Daniella, the two tapirs here.  They're beautiful animals, unique animals.  You'll probably never see anything else like it in the animal kingdom.  We'll see you next time.


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