Taronga’s much-loved Malayan Tapir, Berani, has moved to a new home at Hunter Valley Zoo.
Berani left Sydney on Wednesday, travelling to the Hunter Valley in a specially-designed transport container, and is now happily exploring his new exhibit.
A great ambassador for his species, Berani fathered the first Malayan Tapir calf born in Australia and played an important role in helping to educate countless visitors about the threats facing tapirs in his 19 years at Taronga.
One of four species of tapir, the Malayan Tapir is classified as endangered due to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and poaching. Berani is one of only four tapirs in Zoos in Australia.
I had the opportunity to work with the Malayan Tapirs when they arrived at Taronga back in 1996... and I’ve never stopped working with them! How could you? They are one of the most fascinating, curious, amenable animals I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Berani just wins you over from the first time you meet him. He is a beautiful and trusting soul and I feel privileged at having had the opportunity to work with him for the past 19 years.
Berani also captured the hearts of many other keepers and visitors. A gentle giant at 320kg, he loved being brushed or scratched and would often roll over on his side when keepers just spoke to him. He will be missed greatly by the staff and regular visitors who would always stop by his exhibit.
“Berani was such a big personality, tough but sensitive. He loved to be talked to, loved to be brushed, loved to be scratched and always responded to a keeper being with him in such a nice way. I loved the way his lip used to quiver when he was just about to be brushed and his eyes would get sleepy in preparation for his ultimate lay down for a brush rub,” said Keeper, Lesley Small.
“I’ll miss hearing his lovely whistle as I walk down to section or him calling to hurry us along during late shift,” added Keeper, Deb Price.
“It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to be able to work with Berani. He has such a relaxed personality and calm demeanour. He really is a gentle giant. It will certainly leave a gap on our division, but I am so happy that another team of dedicated keepers will have the opportunity to work alongside such a unique animal,” said Keeper, Megan Lewis.
“I had never heard of a tapir before I started at Taronga, let alone seen one! I fell in love with Berani from the moment I met him. For such a large animal, he has such a gentle personality. How can you not enjoy each and every day working with such an amazing species?! It has been a huge pleasure and he will be greatly missed,” said Keeper, Courtney Mahony.
I’ve no doubt that Berani will continue to be a great ambassador for his species and touch the lives of keepers and visitors at Hunter Valley Zoo.
At Taronga we’re continuing to protect Tapirs in the wild through our support of the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative, which is promoting research and conservation of Lowland Tapirs and their remaining habitats in Brazil.
- Keeper, Justine Powell