Hattiesburg Zoo unveils 'Chupi' the Tapir


HATTIESBURG, Miss. - This is a press release from the Hattiesburg Zoo.

Chupi is a one-year-old tapir who came to Hattiesburg from Florida, weighing approximately 300 pounds. Chupi, which was chosen by fans on the Zoo’s Facebook page, is a Spanish name meaning “great.”

“We like to give our Zoo friends a chance to be involved when we can. The keepers had fun coming up with potential names and waiting to see what fans of the Zoo’s Facebook page selected as their top choice,” said Stephen Taylor, Hattiesburg Zoo animal care manager.

Chupi can be found in the South American mixed species habitat; other animals in this exhibit include the alpacas, capybara, and a giant anteater.

Lowland tapirs are found in the rainforests and wetlands of South America, primarily in the Amazon Basin. They are known for their strong swimming abilities and distinct appearance.

Lowland tapirs, unlike other tapir species, have a large stiff mane or crest that extends from their forehead to their shoulders and a snout that is used to reach for fruit and other vegetation.

They have been recognized as an endangered species since 1970 due to poaching and loss of habitat.

“Expanding our animal collection and offering a fantastic Zoo experience to our guests are among our top priorities. With the addition of the tapir, the eight flamingos last week, and the black jaguar Maya a month ago, we are pleased with how 2017 is already off to a great start at the Zoo,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commissions.

The Zoo will open at 10 a.m. Saturday. Admission is $5, children under two get in free. For additional information, call the Hattiesburg Zoo at 601.545.4576 or visit the Zoo online at HattiesburgZoo.com.

The Hattiesburg Zoo is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility, in partnership with the City of Hattiesburg and the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission. Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing and operating tourism-related facilities for the Hattiesburg area.

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