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Tapir escaper at the Denver Zoo! Keepers return animal within minutes

Ten acres of habitat just wasn't enough for Rinny the tapir.

This morning, the 800-pound black-and-white mammal briefly escaped from her new home at the Denver Zoo's brand new exhibit, Toyota Elephant Passage, and went on an adventure to a fenced-in landscape area. Rinny's entire excursion lasted five minutes and did not include fraternizing with zoo guests.

Here's the statement from the Denver Zoo:

At 10:08 this morning, a keeper witnessed a 4-year-old female Malayan tapir named Rinny outside her primary exhibit in a contained landscape area. This area is separated from public access by a fence.

The keeper responded immediately and enacted the zoo's emergency procedures moving guests from the area. The keeper opened a gate back into the exhibit and the tapir was secured inside her indoor quarters at 10:13 with her mate Benny.

At no time was Rinny in a visitor area.

Rinny and Benny's primary habitat is part of the zoo's newly opened Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit. Staff believes that Rinny squeezed through two cables of her new exhibit into the fenced in landscape area.

The tapirs will remain off exhibit while staff investigates the incident and any changes to the habitat.

Toyota Elephant Passage is also home to four Asian elephants -- females Mimi and Dolly and males Bodhi and Groucho -- as well as several other species. Beside Mimi and Dolly, who have lived at the zoo for a long time, Rinny was the first new inhabitant of Toyota Elephant Passage to arrive -- which maybe means she had the most time to figure out how to make a break for it. Rinny came from a zoo in Seattle to join the zoo's other tapir, the aforementioned Benny. Hopes are high that the two will make tapir babies.

As long as Rinny stays put.

Click through to see more photos of Rinny.

Tapir escaper at the Denver Zoo! Keepers return animal within minutes
Dave Parsons/Denver Zoo

Rinny and Benny celebrate World Tapir Day 2011 with snuggling.
Rinny and Benny celebrate World Tapir Day 2011 with snuggling.
Dave Parsons/Denver Zoo

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