Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) – a species of soliped mammal from the family Tapiridae (Tapiridae). It inhabits the tropical and subtropical regions of South America east of the Andes, from northern Colombia to northern Argentina. They are abundant in the Amazonian rain forests, but more dispersed outside this area.
South American Tapir is a large, bulky mammal with a characteristic “trunk” which constitutes a nose growing out of the top lip and a comb-like crown of the head. Its body is covered with short, stiff hair. Has dark, stiff mane found on the head and neck. The young have masking colouring with characteristic yellowish or whitish stripes and rows of spots.
Tapir is active mainly at night, but in some areas it can also be met during the day. They move along fixed, trodden paths, which can last several decades. They lead solitary life. Tapirs are good swimmers and divers. To escape danger, they mainly take flight to the water. The main sense is a sensitive hearing. They feed on coastal vegetation, wild rice, and other similar plants. They also eat fruits and crops. They search for food mainly along the banks of rivers. The nose serves as a gripping organ, they break the plants using sharp incisors, grinding them using side teeth with wide crowns. For fear of the predators, it spends most of the day in hiding.
Three representatives of this species live in our zoo, including the favourite of the keepers - Sabrina. They live in two runs by the elephant pavilion, where they have to their disposal an outside run and facilities with swimming pools, useful in the hot summer days.