Stanley K. Tapir
stands up for a grape
Photo by Dave Barnes, about 1970
A rare photo of a standing-up tapir! This is Stanley K. Tapir in the yard we built for him in Claremont, California. It was L-shaped, so it was a bit bigger than it looks here. He loved fruit and would go so far as to stand on his hind legs to reach a single grape. If I remember correctly, I had a handful of them, and was feeding him one by one for the photo session. (Our friend, Dave Barnes, who always had a camera with him, had dropped by that afternoon from Los Angeles.) In my other hand is a hose - you can see the water cascading down the wood fence. Tapirs love water and mud, and Stanley was in heaven on the afternoons we turned his yard into a swamp.
We began with hose baths after he outgrew his first small utility tub, and then we were finally able to obtain an old cast iron bathtub from a house that was being demolished. It took a couple of srong guys to carry it into his yard, but he could toss it around with his nose and never get a scratch. Sometimes the tub would end up rightside up again. When either he or we had righted it, the drain would settle into the ground, which made a natural plug. We'd then fill it with the hose and he would loll around in the water, playing. He liked to have the hose sprayed on his back, and would turn and open his mouth so the water could flow into it from the hose. He seemed to enjoy trying to bite the water. When he got tired of this, he'd jump out and knock over the tub. You can see the marks from his toes in the muddy bottom of it. Often he'd run around the yard after that, so agile that leaping over the bulky, iron mass was simply not a problem.
This is definitely a California scene, with avocado leaves spreading over the enclosure in the foreground. Further back is a wisteria vine on an arbor. Very early on, Stanley learned to stand tall and nibble the wisteria up to about six feet off the ground. The tapir is about two years old in this picture.
All tapirs are endangered species.
Saving tapirs helps save the rainforest.
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