KK's Creatures: Mountain Tapirs

By  | 

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is home to some rare and exotic animals, but probably the most rare is the Mountain Tapir. There are two at the zoo, a 13-year-old female named Carlotta, and an 8-year-old male named Mochi.

At first glance, you may not know exactly what you are seeing.

"They look like anteaters."

"A piggy!"

These two are not anteaters, or pigs but rare Mountain Tapirs that live at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, that are actually more closely related to Zebra's and Rhinoceros'. Their keeper Illana explains.

"Because of their odd toes three in the back four in the front."
Mountain Tapirs are found in the forests of South America, but are quickly disappearing .

There are only 9 Mountain Tapirs in captivity in the country, including both Carlotta, Mochi, and there are under 200 tapirs living in the wild, which is why many people haven't see them before.

But these two tapirs are a joy to be around. And even though they don't have the nicest smiles, and they make funny sounds, visitors and keepers alike are lucky to be able to experience these rare animals.

Mochi and Carlotta are a breeding pair. They had a baby a few years ago that was sent away to a zoo in California. Their little family counts for a third of all of the Mountain Tapirs in captivity in the U.S., which is a sign of just how rare these animals are.