Tapirs explore their cool digs!
Location: Across from Encounter Africa, on the way to Monkey Pavilion.
Our Zoo’s tapirs have been living in an off-exhibit area since 2012, due to the construction of Encounter Africa, but in September 2015 our female mountain tapir, Carlotta took her first steps into her newly renovated tapir exhibit. Her mate, Cofan, explored the space for the first time the next day. Both tapirs were quietly cheered on by a crowd of guests, and both seemed to enjoy their new habitat.
The new space boasts a lot of water (mountain tapirs love water). The water features include a large waterfall, a series of small pools, and a large pool for them to fully submerge in. When they get a little more acclimated to the space, we hope they will use these new water features a lot. The exhibit also has lush green landscaping and lots of rocky and flat spaces for the tapirs to explore.
Though they haven’t been visible to the public, important breeding and conservation efforts for the species have continued.
Mountain tapirs are the most critically endangered species of tapir. Experts estimate there are only 2,500 to 3,000 remaining in the wild.
They are rare in zoos, too. Only two zoos in the United States have mountain tapirs – Los Angeles Zoo and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. There are only seven tapirs between the two zoos, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has the only proven breeding female, which is why breeding efforts at the Zoo are so important.
Over the last few years, the Zoo attempted an artificial insemination and even swapped male tapirs with the LA Zoo to see if Carlotta and a younger male, Cofan, would be more successful. Cofan hasn’t sired any offspring yet, but the Zoo is hopeful about Carlotta and Cofan’s future and cautiously optimistic about the potential for a future tapir baby.
Come see the rare mountain tapirs at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo!