When going out to take care of the tapirs and chickens at 5:30 AM, Scott heard a bit of a ruckus. He followed the noise to make sure everything was ok and found the two tapirs, Sheldon and Arya, splashing, swimming and play-fighting in their pond; a tapir pool party.
For those concerned, this is healthy play. Arya, who is smaller and female, is actually the one who is dominating most of it. Not only are they agile but they can hold their breath for extended periods of time. They are very much at home in the water. Outside of the water they’re much more passive, sleeping and eating together and then sleeping some more.
One of the nice parts of the video (for us) is Sheldon’s startle response when he notices there is a person watching. The tapirs we receive generally arrive very acclimated to people- many being raised as pets after their parents are killed and eaten. It can take some time to change that behavior, especially for the ones who arrive sick and need treatment that requires human interaction for medical care.
Although they are being released on our property, 2800-acres which we know is safe, we still want them to live like tapirs. This means not being treated as pets, but as the wild animals they are. We adore them and they are extremely cute, but rehabilitation and release work is about providing them with the best version of their life- which is out in the wild. So we are very happy to see them enjoying each other and not very appreciative of human company.
April 9, 2018