Lotherton Hall's Arthur the Tapir enjoys a bumper feed on his special day!

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The city’s magnificent resident tapir was flying the flag for Leeds today as Lotherton Wildlife World celebrated World Tapir Day.

The attraction’s regal resident took a stroll around his enclosure while basking in the attention of his dedicated keepers and adoring visitors as he marked the international celebration of the curious South American species.

Arthur, almost ten years old, arrived at Lotherton from Flamingo Land around five years ago and has since been enjoying his specially-designed habitat on the Aberford estate, which includes a spacious enclosure and a private, indoor pool.

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In the wild, Arthur’s species inhabits South American countries including Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina where they use their distinctive, mobile noses to feed on leaves, buds, shoots, and small branches as well as seeds found in the rainforest.

Arthur chows down on some Rhubarb!Arthur chows down on some Rhubarb!
Arthur chows down on some Rhubarb!

Closely related to horses and rhinos, tapirs are excellent swimmers and can also run up to 30 miles per hour.

Sadly, South American tapirs like Arthur are also targeted by poachers as well as seeing much of their natural habitat destroyed, leading to the species being recognized as endangered.

Dani Ragheb, keeper at Lotherton said: “Arthur is a real gentle giant who likes being pampered and we absolutely love spoiling him with his favourite food and the occasional tickle under his chin.

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“It’s great that there’s a special, dedicated day to celebrate tapirs which encourages more people to learn about this unique and beautiful animal. We’re also very proud to be playing our part in conserving tapirs for future generations and to be raising awareness of the importance of protecting the planet’s vulnerable species.”

Now in its 15th year, World Tapir Day takes place annually on April 27 and aims to raise awareness of tapirs and support conservation efforts worldwide.

Other vulnerable species supported by Wildlife World include Chilean flamingos, critically endangered Visayan warty pigs and porcupines.

Wildlife World is also home to the hugely popular 120,000 litre penguin pool, which is the playground for an excitable colony of Humboldt penguins.

For more details on Wildlife World, please visit: https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk/lotherton/things-to-see-and-do/wildlife-world