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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

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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Splish, splash! Zoo animals that beat the heat

We all love summer in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s no doubt that some days get pretty hot. Humans are pretty creative in finding ways to beat the heat – splashing, shade, cool clothes – and our Zoo animals do it too! Asian elephants Hanako and Suki might be elderly elephants, but they love a … Continued

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Name our tapir calf!

He’s thriving, growing and exploring the pool: The endangered Malayan tapir calf born July 12 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is nearly ready to meet his adoring fans. But before he does, he needs a name. Members of the public were invited to vote on one of five names chosen by keepers in the … 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.