Dry skin in winter is a problem for people and Taronga Zoo’s Brazilian Tapir, ‘Tiquie’, who relies on a daily pampering to keep her skin and hair healthy.
Keepers gave Tiquie a hands-on health check and grooming session this week, rubbing diluted QV oil into her skin to prevent it drying out and brushing her wiry brown mane.
“Although Tapirs are normally solitary and quite elusive in the wild, Tiquie loves the interaction of the grooming sessions. She’ll close her eyes and tilt her head back when we’re rubbing the oil onto her skin and often roll onto her back for a tummy tickle,” said Keeper, Nat Dunn.
“We also brush her hair and skin to bring out its natural oils and because of her relaxed nature; we’re able to perform a hands-on health check of her feet, ears, eyes and body.”
Tiquie’s daily grooming sessions are also an opportunity for keepers to educate zoo visitors about Tapirs and their challenges in the wild.
Although Tapirs have survived for millions of years, their future is under threat. They are hunted extensively for food, sport and for their thick skins and their jungle and forest habitat is disappearing due to destruction caused by logging and clearing of land for agriculture.
Taronga is helping to protect Tapirs in the wild through its support of the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative, which is promoting research and conservation of Lowland Tapirs and their remaining habitats in Brazil.
In addition to funding for the project, Taronga has also provided expertise with keeper Justine Powell travelling to the Pantanal last year to assist with the monitoring and tracking of Tapirs in the world’s largest tropical wetlands.