Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by patrick, 23 Feb 2006.
Yep, we've all seen them before....
Yes, I'd gathered it's that they're my favourite animals. When the mountain tapirs are born their trunk is more of a stub and takes a bit to develop. Well That was what someone told me
One of the first female Malayan tapirs at London zoo in the 1990s was blind. I don't know where she had live previously. Kilverstone wildlife park in Norfolk had a blind female Lowland Tapir, which bred, just before it closed down.
This is a very interesting subject, and with so much research already indicating a connection between enclosure shade and eye problems, I can't understand why zoos with exposed enclosures are repeatedly able to obtain Malayan Tapir. In the UK, the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Kent has a pair, the enclosure appears, from photos I have seen, to be a barren yard with little shade. Thankfully Marwell has stopped keeping this species - their outside quarters was basically a grass paddock and the animals were rotated with pygmy hippos.
Marwell sometimes also kept one or more of the Malayans in the enclosure opposite the hippo/tapir house on the other side of the road( roughly where the Takins are now.) This was shadier but I think that was just chance. The tapir/hippo house has the tiniest bathig pools I've ever seen-obviously an economy in the design but ridiculously small.
In direct contrast to their Asian elephants, I'd say Port Lympne have the BEST enclosures for Malayan tapirs as they're well wooded- one is the former Sumatran rhino paddock- another dense forest species which can suffer eye problems from too much light in captivity- though I don't think Port Lympne's did.
Port Lympne have announced the birth of a male Malayan tapir this week.
Its good to see 2 zoos regularly breeding them in the UK and a 3rd, Edinburgh just getting started.
Hopefully London will have more success too, with Twycross and RSCC at Sandwich following soon.
i want more info on eye conditions of malayan tapirs in the UK and the rest of europe. every single malayan tapir in australia has gone blind, to the point where our otherwise successful breeding program has been abandoned and we are phasing out a species we can actually breed!
is it something in our soil? seriously, or have we not housed them appropriately for a country with so much sun?
It's a major worry! They are among my favourite animals.
I find it hard to believe that it's a result of too much sunlight. It's gotta be a nutrition deficiency or a bacterial thing maybe.
When I was a kid Taronga had a Malayan Tapir housed on concrete, not soil, (as Hallstrom did). Enclosure hosed out every day. Fresh bedding every day. He went blind too.
Surely a post-mortem of the eyes could determine the cause? Don't they have this problem in other countries? The internet is maddeningly short of information!
it is definitely a well known health issue with captive malayan tapirs worldwide, however the problem seems acute here in australia.
i'm baffled. some interesting things to note...
brazilian tapir do not seem affected in australia (this species spends much more time in open spaces naturally)
the problem is well known in sumatran rhino - another species with similar niche in identical habitat.
It sounds like it could well be to much sunlight, for two different animal species from the same deep dark asian jungle to be affected like this, if its one thing we have plently of here is sunlight
I would agree- everything points to it being too much sunlight.... The fact that this is a deep forest dweller. The fact that Sumatran rhino suffers similarly in captivity (but do Cincinnati's?) The fact that Brazilian tapirs from more open environment, doen't have these problems under the same conditions....
Australian sunlight is dazzlingly bright and seems almost constant(you lucky devils...) I don't know if Malayan Tapirs suffer eye problems in UK and European collections(I haven't heard that they do) but I'll bet if so it would be much less extreme. The fact you can't find any data on this from Europe indicates the problem doesn't exist here...
I recently spent 3 months living in Malaysia . It wasnt exactly sunny like it is in Australia . In fact if the sun was shining for more than a few hours it would often attract big thunderstorms .
I am not saying that it was always wet in Malaysia . It was dry most of the time . But the sun was often shaded by haze or light cloud . If the tapirs in Malaysia live in the jungle , it can be quite dark in there due to extra cover from vegetation ......
I would hazard a guess that it is to do with the intensity and brilliance of sunlight that exists in Australia that would cause the blindness .
I believe also that Malayan Tapirs are somewhat more nocturnal than Brazilians, hence they would naturally avoid the sun in the wild, seeking shade in dense, dark forest by day.
Eye conditions in Malayan tapirs
A good deal has been written about eye conditions in Malayan tapirs and non-shaded exhibits for an essentially rainforest species. For good measure, I would bring into the fore THAT it is important for zoos displaying Malayan tapirs (or most other tapir species for that matter as all are more or less forest species safe for the lowland tapir) to acquire a better understanding of their ecological aspects, habitat use and behaviour. Being a rainforest species Malayan tapirs are not exactly high on the list of properly researched species in the wild.
Thankfully, several zoos have now taken up this challenge and are financing ecological research in situ. The results of which will not only assist in more adequate protection for Malayan tapirs in the wild, but improve the management and holding capabilities of this species in captivity. I know that Kobenhavn Zoo, Denmark finances a project in Malaysia that is instrumental in this (Rotterdam Zoo has recently also joined Kobenhavn in financing this particular effort). I would thus like to see more zoos financing more in situ projects for the species across its entire range in the wild (and not just in a particular part of Malaysia!!! ).
patrick, you mentioned the Malayan tapir breeding programme in Oz has been abandoned? I am confused here (seems such a shame with 2.4 individuals on exhibit ... can you elaborate please?
Becuse all the animals are blind, as a result of possible light consitions, the zoos must have decided that they couldn't provide adequate care to prevent this from hasppening with future animals, so they made the decision to stop breeding. Ir's a shame but better that than creating a group preventable health problems.
The other thing is that it may not be possible to bring in further animals to extend the gene pool because of quarantine. Not sure about that though
Thanx for that. It is a real shame for such a highly endangered taxon!!!
But if it is phase out, why hold on to the Malayan tapirs? Can the EEP source them from there for their Species Programme perhaps? Even blind, I think the Species Coordinator for the EEP (gradually expand the population in suitably equipped zoos around the region) or f.i. Port Lympne would make a kill for them and somehow manage to re-breed from the blind critters again.
Also, some feedback on the ecological in situ research challenge ... be welcome from all of you!
I have worked with malayans for nearly 4 years and also monitor tapir and hippo for the BIAZA hoofstock TAG. I too was very interested in the eye conditions of the malayans in oz when i visited there a few years ago. I have since been to 11 of the 16 zoos in europe exhibiting them and have found none to have such conditions.
Twycross zoo now have a young male that arrived recently from heidelbrg zoo in germany.
The female 'Gerty' at London ( bred at Belfast) is now fully mixed with their male and mating has been attempted.
It is interesting that after such a shortage of males in the population that 4 have been born in the last 2years in the UK alone!
Any info on this amazing species would be greatly appreciated!
I visited a park in thailand that had around 20 tapir in three exhibits. The largest group having 9 animals in it, 7 of which were adults has anyone else seen such groups?
Anyone any idea where the male born at Edinburgh will be heading?
You probably noted my remarks regarding in situ research of Malayan tapirs. Are there plans by the BIAZA TAG to start financing this sort of stuff?
You did not mention the Port Lympne group? I heard that just now a male tapir was born there .. however the ISIS listing now only puts their number at 1.4. Where have all the others gone to?
I recall on the programme 'Roar' filmed at Port Lympne that a youngish male Malayan tapir died in 2007 from Tetanus!
I think that the male that died was the father of the baby that has recently been born.
Also, found this information about the new baby on the Port Lympne website: The baby is one of six Malayan tapirs housed at Port Lympne. Grandpa Daeng and the babyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s grandmother, Lidana, born in 1987 at Port Lympne, gave birth to Lidaeng(the baby's mother) in 1998. Lidana has also given birth to two other female and three male tapirs during her 20 year life.
It isn't something that has been talked about but the issue can be raised. As port lympne arn't a BIAZA collection Im not completely sure. I think that two of their females arent able to breed. One is very nervous around other tapir and one young female has a blood condition of some sort. It would be great to increase the numbers of this species in the UK and Europe!
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