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Piki The Tapir’s Legacy At Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center

Piki the tapir, an emblem of Costa Rica's wildlife conservation efforts

We will miss you, Piki

Piki the tapir, an emblem of Costa Rica's wildlife conservation efforts
Piki the tapir passed away in the beginning of April 2024.

On April 5th, we were devastated to announce the passing of Piki the tapir.

Piki lived at Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center for almost 10 years after being orphaned at just six weeks old. Piki came to Rescate with a lung infection and was able to survive thanks to the support of our dedicated veterinarians.

After posting the news of his passing on social media, our pages received heartwarming comments from visitors and team members who adored Piki.

“My son always went for him. He was his favorite animal,” one parent mentioned on Facebook.

“I’m so glad I met this inspiring soul,” another wrote on Instagram.

“Piki, we loved you and we will miss you,” an animal lover posted.

About Tapirs

Many visitors remember Piki’s curious snout, also known as a proboscis. This flexible nose lets tapirs eat plants in hard-to-reach-areas. Tapirs can move this nose without moving their head!

Tapirs like Piki typically live solitary lives and enjoy swimming, wallowing in mud, and eating berries. They tend to be more active at night or during dusk and dawn.

When threatened, tapirs like to submerge themselves in water. I guess you can say they’re avoidant!

Because tapirs eat fruits and plants, they help spread and fertilize seeds. Tapirs also indicate that an area is healthy…They are one of the first animals to experience a decline when human beings disturb a habitat.

We’re so touched that Piki has impacted so many lives. Unfortunately, all species of tapir are considered endangered or vulnerable.

Protecting the environment and water sources can help tapirs like Piki thrive in the wild!

Get involved

Unfortunately, Piki was not able to be reintroduced back into the wild. He lived in a large, natural habitat where he could be happy as a permanent resident. Many visitors remember seeing him using his long nose to search for food, cooling off in water, and stomping in the mud. 

However, we are working to introduce the animals that can survive on their own into the wild.

If you want to get involved in helping Costa Rican wildlife, check out our internship programs, fundraising efforts, and more

*Written by volunteer Lisa Martens

Would you like to get involved yourself?

Become an Intern and have a unique wildlife experience.

Veterinary Internship

Veterinary interns work directly with our highly experienced veterinarian and our rehabilitation staff. You will assist with with animal intakes, exams, treatments, surgeries, feeding and record keeping.

Wildlife Internship​

Work hands-on in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary, Endangered Species Breeding Center and the Rescue Center, feeding animals, conducting behavioral research, and creating enriching experiences for our non-releasable animals or even clicker train our Jaguar „Guapo“.

Road to freedom Internship

This internship gives you the unique opportunity to not only see, but to play an active part in what we call: The Road to Freedom. Aid the animals in their release, monitor and research them and their second chance at life in the wild, the final step on their Road to Freedom.

Alajuela, COSTA RICA