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Farewell Mr Branco

Zoo News - Posted 28 September 2016

Mr B

PHOTO: David Rowe Photography

Hamilton Zoo staff have farewelled one of the zoo's most popular animals, male tapir Mr Branco.

One of two South American tapir exhibited at Hamilton Zoo, the 25-year-old Mr Branco had developed age-related arthritis and kidney and liver function issues.

The decision to end Mr Branco's suffering was made after discussions with Hamilton Zoo staff and the zoo's veterinarian. He was euthanized earlier this week.

At 25, Mr Branco was into the very latest stages of his natural life.

Hamilton Zoo Director Stephen Standley says staff were becoming concerned about Mr Branco's welfare as his health deteriorated and with it his quality of life.

"Mr Branco had been under veterinary treatment for some time," Mr Standley says. "His ailments were age-related and we didn't want him to suffer any further."

"These decisions are never easy," Mr Standley says. "Mr Branco was one of our most well-known and popular animals and he was a favourite among the team here, too."

Mrs Branco, who is also 25, will remain at Hamilton Zoo and her health and well-being will be closely monitored by staff.

Mr Standley says Mr Branco will not be replaced as importing the species is no longer permitted.

Hamilton Zoo is the only zoo in New Zealand to exhibit tapir, a species found in the jungles of South America, Central America and some parts of Asia. Tapir are the size of a common domestic pig, and are odd-toed ungulates, part of the same broader group of animals as horses, zebras and rhinoceroses. Tapirs are herbivores with a noticeable snout protruding from their faces.

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