Fans of the Chichester Copywriter blog will know that Katy is mad about tapirs and this February Katy went to visit her adopted tapir, Tengui, at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent. Read all about Katy’s private tour of the tapr shed and her off-road African safari experience.
Yes, Katy loves the snuffly, vegetable-loving creatures and has a family of Malayan Tapirs living on her sofa (not real ones of course!). Her collection started with Terrance from London Zoo and then baby Tallulah, from Longleat, joined the adult male for a bit of company. At Christmas, Chichester Copywriter adopted a tapir called Tengui from the Aspinall Foundation – the charity which works in conjunction with Port Lympne and Howletts Wild Animal Parks – and to mark the adoption Katy received a new baby for her collection. On visiting Tengui at her home in Kent this month Katy completed her family of stuffed tapirs with an adult female, Tabetha. Pictures of the family can be seen above.
Tapirs at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
Many animal species throughout the world are becoming increasingly rare and endangered through loss of natural habitat, poaching and pollution. Malayan tapirs are endangered in the wild due to the destruction of the tropical lowland rainforests of Southeast Asia to make way for palm oil plantations and from increased hunting. This is why it means so much for Katy to be able to support the work being done to protect her most beloved animal.
As part of her adoption package Katy gained entry to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park where Tengui the tapir lives. Despite her eagerness to meet Tengui, Katy first visited some of the other animals in the park because the tapirs are kept indoors during the cooler weather and were not on view until 2.30pm that day. But there was plenty to keep our copywriter occupied, as you’ll read below.
Once the tapir shed was open for viewing Katy was one of the first through the door and was armed with plenty of questions for the hoof-stock keeper. After spying copious amounts of fresh vegetables in the food store, Katy’s first treat was the sight of nineteen day old Manado and mum Malacca. The young male, still black with gorgeous white spots and stripes, is Malacca’s first calf and the tenth successful birth of this rare species at Port Lympne.
Manado’s dad, Hunter, was also out and about but he was rather excitable so visitors to the shed had to be wary of his backend – there was lots of spraying going on! As the only male, and clearly proud of it, he even ventured outside for a spray and it was lovely to see him galloping around his territory like a horse.
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The rest of the tapirs were not on show. Unfortunately, Tengui had the snuffles and Lidaeng and Kejutan (a young tapir fathered by Hunter and born in November) were feeling a bit out of sorts too. This was a great disappointment to our West Sussex copywriter who had travelled all the way from Chichester to visit Tengui in Kent. When all was quiet, Katy did, however, ask the keeper if he could take a photograph of Tengui just so she had something to show for her visit. He surprised her by saying that she could have a private tour so that she could see Tengui and take a photo herself – this was a lovely experience and very much appreciated!
Filled with delight, Katy learnt all about Tengui from the keeper who revealed that her favourite foods are apples, bananas and carrots (quite like her adoptive mum’s favourites, really). Although the gorgeous beastie was devouring a branch, stripping it of both leaves and bark, at the time. The keeper also revealed that Tengui loves to swim and is very vocal in the mornings, squeaking and setting all the other Port Lympne tapirs off in sequence. It was sad for Katy to see Tengui not feeling herself but she did detect that mischievous glint in her eye and recognised a potential scamp. Our professional copywriter also learnt that Tengui could be with calf herself next year; she’s next in line to mate with Hunter who will probably enjoy a nibble of her ears along the way!
The African Experience
The highlight of the day (apart from the extra special tapir encounter) was most defiantly The African Experience. As part of the experience you get the opportunity to travel off-road across the stunning Kent countryside in trucks and encounter free-roaming herds of rhino, giraffe, zebra and ostrich.
A whole host of animals can be found at Port Lympne and the work they’re doing to learn about endangered species is incredible. For example, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park has the largest collection of black rhino outside Africa and has already returned three to protected reserves in Tanzania. The work they continue to do with Western Lowland Gorillas is also extremely important. Howletts and Port Lympne are world leaders in the captive management and breeding of this magnificent species and the parks have already had around 130 births. It’s hardly surprising that the gorillas are so happy when you see the fabulous palace that they live in! The gorgeous red panda, as always, is worth a mention too. Who can resist that beautiful face?
Photographs of the other at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park can be seen on Chichester Copywriter’s Facebook Page here.