Cumbria Crack

‘Meet the Tapir’ events help save precious rainforest

Zico the Tapir with Cover Keeper Hannah Loughnane

Two special ‘Meet the Tapir’ events at the Lake District Wildlife Park near Keswick have been helping to raise funds to save the precious rainforest habitat where these prehistoric-looking creatures live in the wild.

Recognised for their unusual looking snouts and friendly nature, tapirs are an endangered species due to habitat loss and poaching in their native South America. But two recent events at the Lake District Wildlife Park have seen visitors raising enough money to buy around 1.5 acres of rainforest to turn into a reserve – most likely in South America.

Visitors were given the chance of personal ‘meet the tapir’ experiences to interact with the Wildlife Park’s resident tapirs, Muffin and Zico, and their expert keeper across two special weekends. In return, they made donations to The World Land Trust, as part of the charity’s quest to buy land to save the rainforest.

The Lake District Wildlife Park’s Education and Marketing Co-ordinator, Lucy Dunn, says, “One and a half acres may not sound like much, but it is so important. Our visitors have taken direct action and helped to raise money which can make a positive impact on animals in the wild.

“Deforestation is one of the main threats to tapirs and it’s vital that we help protect them from extinction. Although they are affectionate and exotic-looking creatures, they are actually one of the least recognised species of animals, so people don’t tend to know much about them.

“We will definitely be holding more ‘meet the tapir’ one-to-one experiences with Muffin and Zico and doing all we can to raise awareness of tapirs and the issues they are facing in the wild.”