Rare tapir spotted running along Punggol park connector; Acres caution against going near animal
The public should keep their distance from tapirs as they are large and powerful animals, said the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), after one was seen in a video running along a park connector in Punggol on Sunday morning.
Acres co-CEO Kalai Vanan Balakrishnan said: “The public should not approach the animal and should keep a safe distance as the tapir is most likely lost and stressed.
“They should also refrain from running or cycling after the animal.”
This is at least the second time this year the Malayan tapir has been spotted in Singapore. The previous sighting was in July.
In a video posted on the SG PCN Cyclist Facebook group on Monday by user Pong Posadas, the tapir can be seen running along the park connector, past a jogger and another person pushing a skate scooter.
The tapir then stops and looks to its right before the video ends.
Mr Posadas said in a caption accompanying the video that he was doing his usual morning ride when he heard something running behind him.
He said he slowed down to let it overtake him, and what he thought initially was a horse turned out to be a Malayan tapir.
Maintaining a distance of around 10m behind the animal, he continued his ride while filming the video. Mr Posadas said he was shocked and amazed to see the creature.
He said in the comments that the animal later entered the water next to the park connector and swam away.
The video has been widely shared on social media, with nearly over 1,100 shares and 2,000 likes at 4pm on Monday.
The Malayan tapir is the largest of the four tapir species, growing up to 2.5m long and weighing up to 500kg, and can be recognised by the distinctive white patch across its back.
It is the only species of tapir found outside the Americas, living in lowland tropical rainforests in Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.
The animal is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, with around 2,500 remaining in the wild.
ST has reached out to Mr Posadas and NParks for comment.