Safari Niagara animal gets brief taste of freedom

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:12 PM ET

ONTARIO - Madison and Liam, two recent additions to Safari Niagara are now calming down after an incident at the local zoo on Saturday.

About two weeks ago, the pair of Malayan Tapirs, who are mating partners, were welcomed to the family at the wildlife sanctuary in Stevensville. But on the weekend, Madison the female, decided she wanted to go for a tour of the neighbourhood.

Safari Niagara zookeepers had been monitoring the animals closely after it appeared they were becoming restless. This was proven to be true as they eventually broke out of their specially-designed enclosure. Madison headed out into the park, while Liam decided he would stay back and keep an eye on their quarters.

When the tapir's escape was realized, general manager Tim Tykolis immediately alerted staff to to secure the park, in order to avoid any confrontations between the animal and park visitors. He said employees moved quickly following regularly rehearsed procedures in the event of such an emergency and visitors were moved to safe areas while zookeepers contained the normally nocturnal Madison.

Acording to Safari Niagara, tapirs are not aggressive creatures but can travel at high speeds. Madison ran swiftly throughout the park and was followed to an on-site pond where she partially submerged herself. The park veterinarian sedated both Madison and Liam before they were taken to a secure holding facility where they were examined for any injuries they may have suffered during the ordeal. The situation was under control within 40 minutes, Tykolis said this week.

"The ending was good for the animal, the staff and everyone involved," he said.

Both animals, who have spent most of their life together, continue to be monitored at a different on-site location at Safari Niagara and staff at Safari Niagara will continue to examine their behaviour before placing them back into their normal enclosure.

"They're recovering and doing well," said Tykolis.

No employees at the zoo or visitors were injured during the incident.

Malayan Tapirs are herbivores that can resemble a pig but with a longer and more defined snout.


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