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IS IT AN ELEPHANT? IS IT A PIG?

03-Oct-2014

The Darling Downs Zoo is now home to a very unusual looking animal.  It looks like a cross between an elephant and a pig and is very rare in this country.  It is a Brazilian Tapir and it is one of only six animals of this species left in Australia.

Our Tapir is a male whose name is Alf.  He is 25 years old and has lived at Western Plains Zoo in NSW and also at Alma Park Zoo in Brisbane.  When Alma Park closed down earlier this year Alf was in a bit of trouble.  His health wasn't the best and there was nowhere left for him to go.  Fortunately for him, the Darling Downs Zoo took on the challenge of restoring him to good health and he is now well enough to be out on display.  He is having a great time exploring his spacious new enclosure and will soon have a huge swimming pool to enjoy.

Alf is a vegetarian and munches his way through many kilos of fresh fruit and vegetables, chaff, hay and special pellets every day.  He also needs dietary supplements to keep his skin nice and soft as well as oil and lotions.

He loves a cuddle, a scratch and a tickle with his keepers but he isn't always socially acceptable as he also loves to wallow in the mud.

Tapirs originally came from the Brazilian rain forest so keeping Alf warm during the winter was a bit of a challenge.  He is certainly enjoying the warmer weather now but, on very bright sunny days, you may have to look carefully to find Alf - either under his shade netting or resting in the shade of his stable.


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