A tapir that has been roaming Ramjattan Trace, Penal.

A 500-pound female Tapir which has been roaming the community of Ramjattan Trace, Penal, since December is now in the possession of the Emperor Valley Zoo.

The South American animal, which is not indigenous to this country, was captured on Monday by a team of game wardens, police officers and zoo officials.

Investigations are ongoing to determine how exactly the animal ended up in Penal. Keeping the animal as a pet or in captivity is an offence as it is protected under the laws of T&T. The offence carries a penalty of $5,000.

Residents often spotted the animal in the community but no official report was made as it did not appear harmful or a threat to anyone. However, the authorities were alerted to the situation after the video of the animal in someone’s property went viral on social media.

Guardian Media was told that the animal was tame and seemed accustomed to people. On Monday evening, the tapir was administered a tranquilliser and carted off to the zoo. It is believed that the animal was smuggled into the country from Venezuela.

Investigations are continuing.