Point Defiance Zoo staff euthanized a geriatric tapir today that was suffering from congestive heart failure and attendant respiratory problems, according to the zoo’s head veterinarian Karen Wolf.
Jambi, 27, was among the first residents of the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary that opened in 2004. Before coming to Tacoma, he was a member of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
Malayan tapirs are an endangered species native to Southern Burma, the Malay Peninsula, Thailand and Sumatra, according to the Zoo. About 3,000 are estimated to live in the wild.
Jambi was near the end of the lifespan range for the animals, according to zoo staff.
Veterinary staff had worked for months to make him more comfortable and changed his diet to encourage him to eat and take medicine, Wolf said.
Jambi was eating little, though, and spent most of his time lying down, according to zoo staff.
The zoo would like to work with other tapirs, but there are currently none available, General Curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said.