Animals Blog

Tapirs Pair Up at Park in Time for Brazilian Independence Day

A Brazilian Tapir has been introduced to his new partner at Fota Wildlife Park in Cork just in time for Brazilian Independence Day which occurs today 7th September.

The Tapir named Bazil recently moved from Curragh Wildlife Park in the Isle of Man to meet up with female Maya who has been residing in the Cork wildlife park since 2010 after arriving from Lodz in Poland. The new arrival is part of a breeding programme organised by EAZA (European Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums) with the hope that the two will mate and give the park its first Tapir baby in over 5 years.

The timing of the Tapir introduction also happens to fall on their native countries Independence Day commonly called Sete de Setembro. The Independence Day of Brazil is a national holiday every year to celebrate Brazil's Declaration of Independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822.

A relative of the primate horse and Rhinoceros, the Brazilian Tapir is one of four species of Tapir in the world. It can weigh up to 250 kg, measure two metres in length and has a long, flexible snout that helps collect food.

The name Tapir comes from the Brazilian word for ‘thick’, which is a reference to its tough skin. The Tapir inhabits the rainforests of South America; it lives near water which it uses to escape from predators such as jaguars, pumas and anacondas.

The Brazilian Tapir is listed as Vulnerable because its population continues to decrease in the face of habitat destruction, demand for its meat, valuable hide and its slow reproduction rates. Brazilian Tapirs are born with spots and stripes and look like walking water melons initially.

The Brazilian Tapir has had a presence at Fota since the early 1990s, with several calves born in Cork over the years. The new tapir is also part of a much larger Brazilian community with the latest figures showing that there are now 9,298 Brazilians resident in Ireland.