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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.

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

A Tapir Ultrasound

Zoological Aide Katie Schachtsick holds a long-handled back-scratcher and applies just the right amount of pressure as she rubs it across the black-and-white hide of endangered Malayan tapir Yuna. It’s clear Yuna enjoys the attention – and the back rub – leaning into the scratcher and then moving her stout legs down, getting into a … Continued

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AI for endangered tigers

Cross your paws. And think of tiger cubs! Our endangered female Sumatran tigers, 5-year-old Kali and 4-year-old Kirana, could be pregnant. Both were artificially inseminated Jan. 30 with sperm from 14-year-old Mohan. We won’t know for a few weeks if a pregnancy resulted, but if successful, tiger cubs would be born in May. But it … Continued

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5 Animals that Beat the Cold

We’re all feeling the cold right about now in the Pacific Northwest – and the rest of the country too. But here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, our animals have some pretty cool ways to deal with it. From fur coats to heated hammocks, here are five ways our animals beat the winter cold. … 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.