Adelaide Zoo

Tapir or not Tapir: that is the question on World Tapir Day!

It’s World Tapir Day and keepers at Adelaide Zoo put their minds and trunks into creating a special day for two of the four species that currently survive in the wild in Central and South America and Southeast Asia.

Adelaide Zoo is home to three Brazilian Tapirs females Talara (35), daughter Chiquita (20) and 17-year-old male, Arturo, plus one Malayan Tapir, 22-year-old, Jelita.

“Our visitors love the tapirs as they’re great fun to watch. They’ve got a very short trunk which they use to grip. They also love to use the water and can stay underwater for a few minutes using their trunk like a snorkel,” says Adelaide Zoo keeper Jade Koek.

“Just as well they do keep their trunk above water because they use the water to go to toilet as well as for keeping cool and eating.

“Sadly all tapir species are endangered with the Brazilian Tapir categorised by the IUCN as vulnerable to extinction while the Malayan Tapir is endangered with less than 2,500 thought to survive in the wild.

“By visiting the zoo we hope our visitors will learn more about this species and how they can help through supporting conservation organisations such as ourselves,” finished Jade.

While three of the four tapir species live in Central of South America, the Malayan Tapir is the only one to live in South East Asia. It’s unusual colouring of half black and half white is a form of camouflage in its native forests. The Malayan Tapir is also the largest of all tapir.

To learn more about tapir and how you can support this amazing species at Adelaide Zoo, please visit