LUKFIN, Texas (KETK) — The Ellen Trout Zoo is mourning the loss of Tama, the first Malayan Tapir to be born at the zoo. Tama was born on July 26, 2021.

Tama was striped “like a watermelon” when he was born and was a favorite of his caregivers, who the release said greatly enjoyed watching him grow into a nearly full-grown black and white version of his parents.

Tama was first introduced to us as Pertama, soon after his birth in 2021. Zoo officials said his direct caregivers gave him the nickname of Tama

He was first observed displaying gastric issues on June 9 and was being treated by the interim zoo veterinarian, Dr. Lindsay Syler. Zoo officials said that Tama would gradually improve then would start showing signs of gastric distress.

On June 22, Dr. Jenna Rivais joined Dr. Syelr in Tama’s care, the release said and on Saturday, they determined that surgery was necessary. Since Tapirs are closely related to horses, it was decided that Tama should be taken to an equine specialist for the surgery.

When the surgery was performed late Saturday evening, they discovered that Tama was suffering from a perforated intestine and was unlikely that Tama would survive the surgery so it was decided to “humanely euthanize” him.

“All of the zoo staff, especially those who cared for him every day, miss him dearly and are deeply saddened by the loss,” zoo officials said.