August 17, 2023 6:56 pm
Seattle, Washington, The United States
Woodland Park Zoo bade farewell to their Malayan tapir, Bintang this week. Bintang was 23 years old, well above the average 19 year old life expectancy of this species.
Bintang was the only male Malayan tapir to live at Woodland Park Zoo. Affectionately known as Binnie, he was born at the zoo in 2000. From 2002 to 2014 he moved to Sedgwick County Zoo (Wichita, Kan.) and Gladys Porter Zoo (Brownsville, Texas) and sired two offspring. He returned to Seattle during 2014 with a breeding recommendation with the zoo’s female Malayan tapir, Ulan.
Ulan continues to live at Woodland Park Zoo alongside hers and Bintang’s first offspring, Sempurna born in 2022. They can be found in the Trail of Vines habitat.
“Bintang was such an incredible ambassador for his cousins in their natural range. Many visitors to Woodland Park Zoo have never seen a tapir before or heard of tapirs, so our tapirs inspire such awe and curiosity,” said Wendy Gardner, an animal keeper at Woodland Park Zoo.
According to Dr. Misty Garcia, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo, Bintang had been under treatment for decreased mobility due to age-related arthritis since 2016. “Bintang was on a prescribed program of treatments which included laser therapy, massage therapy, pain medications and joint supplements. Over the last three months, the geriatric tapir experienced an overall decline in condition including decreased mobility and significant weight loss,” said Garcia. “The zoo’s animal care team had been monitoring him closely with daily observations of his health and quality of life. We had to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him.”
As part of their standard procedure the zoo’s veterinary team will carry out a post mortem examination. This will diagnose factors which may have contributed to his death.
Tapir are a primitive looking species with a long snout which can serve as a snorkel when they are swimming. Malayan tapirs are the only of the four tapir species found in Asia.
“Tapirs in accredited zoos are rare; we will be working with the tapir management group to determine when we might be able to plan for another male tapir,” said Erin Sullivan, an animal curator at Woodland Park Zoo.
Text. Image: © Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo
About the Author
Cale has operated The Animal Facts since 2012. During this time he has volunteered and worked across a range of Australian Wildlife Parks something he continues to today. He holds a certificate in Animal Care and Husbandry.
The Malayan tapir communicates in several ways. They use high pitched squeaks and whistles. They snort and stamp their feet when they feel threatened and are getting ready to defend themselves. They spray urine on plants to communicate to other tapirs that the territory is taken.
Image: © Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo
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