Brevard Zoo Baird’s Tapir Dies During Operation
By Space Coast Daily // June 13, 2013
'Pee Wee' ORIGINAL RESIDENT OF ZOO
ABOVE VIDEO: Related to the rhinoceros, called a mountain cow, and having a flexible nose like an elephant, Baird’s Tapir has to be seen to be believed.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Pee Wee, a male Baird’s Tapir and one of the original animals of Brevard Zoo, passed away yesterday during a medical procedure at the Zoo.
Pee Wee was 21 years old and had been suffering for some time with a chronic toe infection. He passed away during a procedure to surgically treat the infected toe.
Pee Wee lived at Brevard Zoo since it opened in 1994 and was popular with Zoo guests. Weighing in at 550 pounds, he was housed with Josephine and sired six offspring during his time at the Zoo including Tootsie, the baby girl Baird’s tapir, born April 6 at the Zoo.
FOUND IN MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA
Baird’s tapirs historically have been found in southeastern Mexico through northern Columbia to the Gulf of Guayaquil in Ecuador. They are the national animal of Belize where they are known as the mountain cow.
Wild populations of Baird’s tapirs are declining. Surveys of the population and habitat suggest that there are less than 5,500 individual Baird’s tapirs remaining in the wild. This species of tapir is currently listed by IUCN as endangered and CITES Appendix 1.
In early 2013 the captive population consisted of 22 males and 10 females in 19 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facilities, including Brevard Zoo.
Since 2005 Brevard Zoo has funded tapir field conservation projects through the Institute for Ecological Research in Central America. The Zoo provided funding for four radio collars to track Baird’s Tapirs so researchers could collect important data regarding habitat use and foraging behaviors.
The Zoo is currently highlighting the Institute for Ecological Research in its Quarters for Conservation program. This program is expected to provide up to $3,000 to support tapir field conservation programs this year. To learn more about Brevard Zoo’s Quarters for Conservation program, please visit BrevardZoo.org and click on Conservation.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BREVARD ZOO