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Malayan tapir

Did you know?

Tapirus indicus

Tapirs may look quiet, but they make a lot of noise! When excited (especially by another tapir) they make sneezing hiccups, high-pitched squeals and ear-piercing whistles.

NEWS: We have a tapir calf! Born July 12, he is doing great, and so is mom Yuna.

Discover Tapirs

Habitat
Wild and Zoo
Around 6-8 feet long and 3 feet tall, Malayan tapirs live in the dense tropical rainforests of southern Burma, Malay Peninsula, southeast Thailand and Sumatra. Find them in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.
Asian Forest Sanctuary
Meet the keepers
(Hear tapir tales.)
Keepers in our Asian Forest Sanctuary give a talk each day at 12:30 pm – look for the signs in that area to find them. Ask questions about each animal, and find out how our zoo team feeds and cares for them.
See daily schedule

Meet our tapirs

Baku
Yuna
Eating
(and predators!)
Tapirs are herbivores: they eat tender leaves, shoots and fruit from various plants.
Their main predators are humans, who hunt them for meat, and tigers.
Born dotty
to blend in.
After a 13-14 month gestation period, females give birth to a single calf.
A tapir calf is born with extra rows of white dots (like a watermelon) to help it blend with its surroundings.
Climbing, galloping
and a snorkel nose.
Tapirs are mostly nocturnal and often solitary, though they sometimes live in pairs. They are good climbers, runners and swimmers.
Long and flexible, a tapir's nose is used for grabbing leaves while foraging, and even as a snorkel while swimming!

Protecting tapirs

Losing their home.

THE THREAT: These rare mammals are living fossils – they’ve been around since the Eocene age, superbly adapted for forest survival. Now, however, they are endangered. Their forest is disappearing, thanks to human roads, farms and logging. They’re also poached for their meat.

TAKE ACTION: Much of southeast Asia’s rainforest destruction is to make room for palm oil plantations. Check products you use for sustainable palm oil, and encourage companies to make the switch. Send a letter, email or tweet, and download a Palm Oil Shopping App.

Jungle Stories

Browsing the Bamboo

When you think ‘edible gardening,’ you usually don’t imagine growing banana trees for elephants. But Bryon Jones does. The lead horticulturalist at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has created an entire garden devoted to plants that zoo animals can munch, nibble or chew. It’s usually hidden from public view. But on this Sunday’s free garden … Continued

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Meet Kazu the tapir calf!

UPDATE: Kazu made his public debut Aug. 30. He and Yuna are now viewable in the Asian Forest Sanctuary late morning-early afternoon on weekends. Trotting over green grass. Figuring out stairs. Swimming. A brand-new, exciting world for Kazu the tapir calf is in store this weekend at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, as the seven-week-old … Continued

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Fixing a tiger tooth

If you’re an apex jungle predator, it’s pretty important to have strong teeth. So when Kirana, one of the four Sumatran tigers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, needed some work on a fractured canine last week, she had a team of 12 veterinarians, veterinary dentists, technicians and keepers to take care of her. “Can … Continued

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Who's Nearby?
Visiting our tapirs? Then try to spot our anoa! A similar size, anoa are actually a species of buffalo, with sharp horns. Ours rotates like the tapirs around our Asian Forest Sanctuary habitats.