Published 5th January 2022
Happy New Tapir! : Port Lympne Reserve welcomes Mogli the tapir from Edinburgh Zoo
We welcomed a delightful new arrival just before Christmas: A Malayan tapir who was transferred from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's (RZSS) Edinburgh Zoo.
12-year-old Mogli was waved off by his dedicated keepers in Scotland before making the 470-mile journey by road to South East England, arriving at his new home in Kent on the 9th December. He joins our three other Malayan tapirs – one male and two females.
Specialist wild animal transporters Ventura Wildlife Services ensured that the journey was as smooth as possible for the handsome black-and-grey ungulate.
Mogli was a long-standing favourite at Edinburgh Zoo, where he had been resident from 2012, having been born in Dortmund, Germany, on the 11th December 2009. His transfer was recommended by the EAZA Ex-situ Programme (EEP), aimed at helping to sustain a healthy population of this endangered species under human care for conservational purposes. It is hoped Mogli’s new female companions will show some interest in breeding with him.
Alice Elliott, Deputy Head Keeper of Hoofstock at Port Lympne, said: “Mogli is settling in well, is very active, and has been exploring his new surroundings and enjoying the indoor swimming pool. With the scent of multiple other tapirs in the house, he has spent a lot of time sniffing around and scent-marking.
“He is very chatty, and clicks and whistles to the keepers, and to one of our females, Tengui, next door - although she hasn’t been quite as enthusiastic as he has to say hello!
“We are giving him space to get used to his new surroundings and won't start doing introductions until he has fully made himself at home.”
Malayan tapirs are currently classed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, with less than 2,000 mature individuals left in the wild. One of the main reasons for their decline is due to their natural habitat being converted into palm oil plantations. They are also being increasingly targeted by hunters.
Native to southern Thailand, Myanmar, the Malayan peninsular and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, they are most commonly found in dense primary rainforests where they eat grass, aquatic plants, leaves, buds, soft twigs and fruits on low-growing shrubs. Shy, crepuscular animals, Malayan tapirs are the largest of the four tapir species. Their unique feature - a fleshy prehensile nose – is used to grab leaves and is even deployed as a snorkel while swimming.