25-year-old Malayan Tapir dies at El Paso Zoo

EL PASO, Texas - Spike, a Malayan Tapir, who was one of the first residents in the Asia section of the El Paso Zoo, has died.

Spike arrived at the El Paso Zoo in August of 1995 from San Diego Global.

Spike was euthanized on July 17, 2013 due to a prolonged gastrointestinal illness. Veterinary staff and zookeepers were providing ongoing care and despite medical care, he continued to decline.

"Spike has been a much loved animal here at the zoo, a fixture, and he'll be greatly missed," said Animal Curator John Kiseda.

Keepers say that he was closely bonded to his mate, Bailey, and that he could almost always be found at her side. Spike enjoyed swimming on a hot day and looked forward to breakfast and his morning brush, zoo officials said.

"One of our favorite things about Spike was his temperament; he was eager to train, easy going, and curious. We are very saddened to have lost such a unique animal, and will miss him dearly," said Senior Zoo Keeper Lela Lax.

The median life expectancy for male Malayan Tapirs is 18 years. Spike was considered by zoo officials to be geriatric at age 25.

Malayan Tapirs are listed as "endangered" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ and are a part of the AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program. Spike has fathered multiple offspring who have also produced offspring.

In January, 47-year-old spider monkey Angel was euthanized due to old-age related decline.

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