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      Malayan tapir return to Riverbanks Zoo

      Daniella, a 16 year old Malayan tapir, is now on display at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- One of the founding species of Riverbanks Zoo is making a return.

      The Malayan tapir was an original part of the animal collection when Riverbanks opened in 1974, and now a 16 year old named Daniella will call the zoo home.

      Daniella comes to Riverbanks from the Bronx Zoo, her home since the age of one. She was born at Zoo Miami in July of 1996.

      â??We are excited to bring this unique species back to Riverbanks,â?? said John Davis, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. â??We hope that Zoo guests will enjoy learning about Daniella and all tapirs in general.â??

      According to the zoo of the four species of tapir, Malayans are the largest and most powerfulâ??many weighing more than 700 pounds.

      â??Tapirs also have interesting ways of communicating,â?? said Davis. â??One of the most common is a high-pitched whistle that almost sounds like screeching car breaks.â?? Another type of tapir talk is snorting and stompingâ??typical actions when the animals are preparing to defend themselves.

      The zoo says that on average, tapirs live to be 25 to 30 years old. All tapir species are now considered either endangered or vulnerable because hunting and habitat destruction is decreasing the wild population.

      Daniella can be seen on exhibit daily near the Zooâ??s Galapagos tortoise yard.