Oldest Lowland Tapir In North America Celebrates

The oldest Lowland Tapir living in captivity in North America is celebrating today. Watermelon turns 34 today, and whether he knows it or not he’s inching closer to breaking a record!

Audubon Zoo Curator Lee Schoen says, “The oldest Tapir that has been in captivity was 35 so he’s getting up there in years. I think he’s got a few more in him. We’re hoping to break the record.”

This big guys weighs in at almost 400lbs and calls Audubon Zoo’s South American exhibit home.

Lowland Tapirs run wild in South American rain forests. They rest during the day and graze on plants and berries at night. Oddly enough, they’re more closely related to horses and rhinoceros.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We’re pretty fond of him. We think he’s pretty handsome,” says Schoen.

In two years Watermelon will be the oldest Lowland Tapir ever to be kept in captivity. By the looks of it he’ll make it there and then some. He’s happy, healthy, and but for a few gray hairs sprinkled here and there it’s hard to tell he’s aging.


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