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Exotic Mammals Keeper Renae Zammit with Tiquie', the 10 year old Brazilian Tapir
Photo: Clare Chenoweth

Visitors today at Taronga Zoo were delighted to see Tiquie', the 10 year old Brazilian Tapir, relishing her grooming session with Senior Exotic Mammals Keeper Renae Zammit.

When tickled under the chin, ‘Tiquie' stretched out her neck and leant against Renae, as her wiry coat was being brushed.

Normally a cautious animal, Brazilian Tapirs are found in the forests of South America and live a solitary life, however, keepers at the Zoo have been able to develop strong bonds with Tiquie, due to her disarmingly affectionate and relaxed manner.

Surprisingly, it has taken less than a year for ‘Tiquie' to warm to her carers since arriving from Adelaide Zoo in October, 2006.

She'll often roll onto her back, legs splayed, as she enjoys a tummy tickle and the daily hands-on health check .

For Tiquie, the checks are simply another chance to be pampered. Her keepers find it hard to resist spending time with this charming creature, so naturally, they want her to be as comfortable as possible.

Renae says, "She has a certain dislike for flies, so to combat this problem, we spray her with fly repellent which Tiquie thoroughly enjoys."

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