World’s oldest tapir dies aged 42 at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, Kent

Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve are saddened to announce the death of Kingut, our beloved Malayan tapir who was the Guinness World Record holder for ‘oldest tapir in captivity’.

Kingut was born in Jakarta in January 1978, and arrived at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve in July 1992, where he spent most of his life. He was awarded his Guinness World Record last year at the age of 41 and passed away at Port Lympne on 6th July 2020, still holding that record at the ripe old age of 42 years, 5 months and 9 days.

Alice Elliot, Deputy Head Keeper of the Hoofstock section said: “The hoofstock section are all deeply saddened by the loss of Kingut. He was a very special tapir, not just for the remarkable age he reached, but for his affectionate and mischievous personality. 

To the many keepers who have worked with him over the years he was more than just an animal in our care, he was friend and family, and completely irreplaceable.

In the wild, Malayan tapir are found in southern Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) and through the Malayan peninsular, and on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They are most commonly found in dense primary rainforests where they eat grass, aquatic plants, leaves, buds, soft twigs and fruits on low growing shrubs.

A unique feature that tapir possess is its fleshy prehensile nose that it uses to grab leaves and even use as a snorkel while swimming. Tapirs grow up to 1.8 meters long (6 feet) with the females being larger at up to 400kg and the smaller males weighing up to 350kg. Captive tapirs typically live for 25-30 years, an age Kingut exceeded by more than a decade.