Y'all, it's almost World Tapir Day! On April 27, tapir enthusiasts around the world devote their time and energy to raising awareness about tapirs and their conservation. I know you'll go all out, so I'm giving you plenty of time to prepare. National Day Calendar shares a little info on the glorious creature that is the tapir:
What does a tapir look like? Well, it looks like a pig with a trunk. Some people refer to them as a boar crossed with an anteater. However, tapirs aren't related to any of these animals. Instead, they are related to horses and rhinos. Weighing over 600 pounds, tapirs are the largest land mammals in South America. This herbivore also lives in Central America and Southeast Asia.
As an early celebration, I want to share this article written by Emma Gritt for Women's Health. In "Could Brushing a Tapir Help Me Get Out of My Mind?", she discusses the "Mindfulness with Animals" experience she participated in at the Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa in Bassenthwaite, in the Lake District of England. For her, the standout animal encounter that's part of the package is the "once in a lifetime chance to groom the nearby Lake District Wildlife Park's mother and son tapirs." The piece opens with this glorious paragraph:
I gently ran my hands over his wide back, an ocean of black, coarse hairs tickling my fingertips. He grunted approvingly, prompting my boyfriend to give me a sly grin over his shoulder. He also had his hands full, and I noticed, as he gently caressed an equally hirsute female, that she also enjoyed the pressure of a firm hand on her damp skin.
This first paragraph sucked me right in. If you haven't already guessed, the answer to the question posed in the title of the article is a resounding YES (sorry for the spoiler, but c'mon, that first paragraph was a dead giveaway!). I encourage you to read the rest of the article for more details of Gritt's interactions with the tapirs, who were named Muffin and Zico. She was also lucky enough to get up close and personal with alpacas, goats, Northern Eurasian lynx, and some red pandas named Mei Li and Charu.
At the beginning of 2023, I created a "23 in 2023" list, where I set out 23 goals for the year. These included work, writing, and traveling goals, as well as "pet an opossum"–please let me know if you have any opossum connections! Now I'm gonna have to add a 24th–brush a tapir. Until I can do that, though, I'll choose some of these other ways of observing World Tapir Day, provided by the National Day Calendar:
- Zoos worldwide that have tapirs hold many special events on this day.
- Tapir conservation organizations also host events to help spread awareness about this unique animal.
- Learn more about tapirs.
- Donate organizations, such as the Tapir Specialist Group, that are helping to protect the tapirs.
- Go check out your local zoo's tapir exhibit.
- Watch the documentary "The Tale of the Tapir."
- Help spread awareness for tapirs by posting pictures and fun facts about the animal on social media.
- When doing so, don't forget to use #WorldTapirDay.
You can also check out the official webpage for World Tapir Day, here.