Ellen Trout Zoo staffers mourn loss of Tama the Malayan Tapir

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 7:14 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 7:32 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) - Tama the Malayan Tapir was the first Tapir to be born at the Ellen Trout Zoo, on July 26, 2021. Striped like a watermelon when he was born, Tama was a favorite of his caregivers, who greatly enjoyed watching him grow into a nearly full grown black and white version of his parents.

Tama was first observed displaying gastric issues on June 9, 2022 and was being treated by the interim Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Lindsay Syler. Tama would gradually improve and then would again display behaviors indicative of gastric distress.

On June 22, Dr. Syler was joined by the Ellen Trout Zoo’s new Veterinarian, Dr. Jenna Rivais for the medical care of Tama. On Saturday June 25, Tama began displaying more serious symptoms and both Dr. Rivais and Dr. Syler examined him and determined surgery was necessary.

Since tapirs are closely related to horses, it was decided that Tama should be taken to an equine specialist for the surgery. The surgery was performed late Saturday evening and it was discovered that Tama was suffering from a perforated intestine. It was unlikely that Tama would survive the surgery so it was decided to humanely euthanize him to prevent any further suffering.

All of the Zoo Staff, especially those who cared for him every day, miss him dearly and are deeply saddened by the loss.

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