(COLORADO SPRINGS) — One of only four mountain tapirs in the U.S. is returning to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZoo).
24-year-old Mochi is part of the critically endangered mountain tapir species, who many CMZoo fans may remember from his time spent at CMZoo from 2000-2014. Mochi moved to the LA Zoo, where he lived until last month.
“We are beyond excited to welcome this species back to the Zoo – and Mochi, as an individual, is going to be such a great ambassador,” said Lauren Phillippi, lead mountain tapir keeper. “He’s an older guy, but he’s really playful and curious. He loves scratches, just like our former tapir, and his brother, Cofan, did. He likes to hold his head to one side or stretch out a leg so we can get the scratches just right.”
CMZoo said on Monday, April 10, Mochi wasted no time exploring his recently updated yard, across the main Zoo road from Encounter Africa. He came straight out of his den to the yard, CMZoo said, and energetically investigated the trees, rocks, grass and snacks.
To accommodate Mochi’s advanced age, CMZoo said his team decided to remove a pool that was previously there, and replaced it with a comfortable sand yard. Mochi has access to a waterfall and smaller pond, where he took a brief dip.