Critter Profile: Bakugo!
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Critter Profile: Bakugo!

Overview!

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Name: Bakugo

Species: Hybrid of Tapirus indicus (Malayan Tapir) and Tapirus yumekui (Greater Baku)

Primary Caretaker: Terrestrial Team, William Hendricks

Diet: Berries, fruits, aquatic plants, dreams

Housed: Wilson's Wildlife Center, Enclosure 12

Creature Features!

Bakugo is a one-of-a-kind hybrid between a run-of-the-mill Malayan Tapir and a greater baku, a type of Japanese Yokai which is best known for its ability to 'eat' dreams. In reality, this is a complex chemical and magical process which involves a special organ only found in baku (and in Bakugo) that allows it to derive energy from halting human REM Sleep. However, due to the fact that he's a hybrid, he can also derive nutrition from things a Malaysian Tapir would normally eat.

Bakugo is a bit standoffish, but he'll eagerly eat an apple out of your hand— or a nightmare out of your brain.

History!

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A baby Bakugo, sleeping next to his mom. Ain't he cute?

Bakugo here was rescued from an illegal zoo in Eventide, Oregon1 back in 2015, along with several other critters. While the majority of them have been returned to their native habitat, Bakugo was born in captivity, and would have extreme difficulty surviving in the wild. This is especially true given Eventide's unique perpetually nocturnal climate; Bakugo didn't see natural light until he was rescued from the zoo.

Bakugo's mom and dad were illegally imported from Japan and Malaysia respectively, and gave birth to him three years into their captivity. During this time, Bakugo's mom Yume was severely malnourished, due to the fact that greater bakus can only eat dreams, and not many people were willing to sleep in an enclosure containing a potentially aggressive pair of animals. Some conservationists who were part of the Oneiroi Collective2 managed to remotely supply nutrition to both her and Bakugo, ensuring their survival until they could be rescued.

Owing to the current state of government in Eventide, which is hostile to not only Wilson's Wildlife but also the FBI's Unusual Incidents Unit, the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Exozoology Task Force, and several other organizations that deal with the trafficking of critters, the rescue of Bakugo's family and several other critters had to be carried out in secret. We had help from quite a few places, and despite having a bit of a shaky retrieval, all fifty-two animals at the zoo were successfully rescued.

Bakugo and his mother were enclosed together for four years, but were unfortunately seperated due to Bakugo becoming aggressive towards Yume upon reaching maturity.

Special Needs and Accommodations!

Like all Malayan tapirs, Bakugo has poor eyesight, and has to navigate based on smell and hearing. However, due to his upbringing in a place where the sun literally didn't shine, he has to be kept in a perpetually nocturnal enclosure, with minimal lighting. As such, please keep your flash off when you photograph him.

Owing to Bakugo's unique diet, a bed has been included in a cordoned-off portion of the enclosure, behind industrial-strength plexiglass of the same make used in the Seattle Zoo's Malayan tapir enclosure. Twice a week, a member of the Terrestrial team sleeps in this bed, so that Bakugo can have a snack on their dreams. Priority is given to those among staff who suffer from especially bad nightmares.

Notes about Bakugo!

Bill Hendricks has proposed hosting sleepover parties at Wilson's, having kids in and around Boring learn about the various critters at the shelter and stay in a series of tents close to Bakugo's enclosure. The kids get a good night's sleep, Bakugo gets a nice, big meal, and Wilson's raises awareness in the community. Everyone wins!

EDIT 4/12/2018: The first sleepover was a moderate success. About twenty kids came and slept over, got to see a bunch of the critters and how they behaved, and learned some valuable lessons about critter conservation. Bakugo got a little sick the day after— we think we may have overfed him. Proposing that we space out the tents a little more next time.

EDIT 7/06/2018: A few members of the terrestrial team are having fits of narcolepsy when they go to clean Bakugo's enclosure. Jack collapsed and woke up in a pile of dung, and despite the fact that Bakugo eats dreams, his droppings smell like a complete nightmare. Greater bakus normally can't induce sleep in people; pygmy baku, found in the Kantō region of Japan (particularly the Greater Tokyo area) can do this, but greater baku usually rely on already-sleeping individuals, usually rural farmers, for sustenance. Recommending genetic testing; maybe his mom was a hybrid, too?

EDIT 8/04/2018: Testing confirms that there's some pygmy baku in him, but on his father's side, not his mother's. It appears that the pygmy baku genes were heavily recessive in his father, and got expressed in Bakugo. Pygmy bakus have been known to make entire office buildings fall asleep— just look at what happened at Nintendo of Japan's headquarters back in 2013. We're not sure how we're going to handle something of his size. Proposing that all staff keep dream journals to better document Bakugo's feeding habits.

EDIT 10/14/2018: Alex fell asleep in Maya's enclosure. Thank god that she's docile, or who knows what would have happened. I know that it's policy to not perform unnecessary surgery on our animals, but Bakugo's hypnosis organ is powerful enough to induce sleep four enclosures away. It's not too different from neutering, except you're snipping something at the other end of the body. Plus, Bakugo has gained a LOT of weight— they're up over eighty pounds since the sleepover, and it's showing. Something needs to be done, or else his health, and the health of everyone working at Wilson's, may be at risk.

Sent by: William Hendricks
Recipient(s): Faeowynn Wilson
Date: 11/12/2018

Faeowynn,

To say that the surgery didn't go as planned was a massive understatement, and I take full responsibility for it. I didn't know that Bakugo could activate his hypnosis organ under anesthesia, but I suppose it makes sense— if it can eat dreams, it must be able to use dreams, too.

Talking of dreams, what happened after we all went under was… odd, to say the least. I don't remember the dream 100%, but it appears to have been 1) shared by everyone within Wilson's at the time and 2) at least partially tangible— Alyx reported waking up with her face covered in baku slobber. This isn't unheard of when it comes to baku, of course— if anything, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner.

What I was surprised about was what happened in the dream, which I'm recording here for the sake of posterity, and the fact that I'm already starting to forget it. Pretty much everyone in the operating room became a proper baku— tiger legs, long tail, the whole nine. And we were surrounded by an entire herd of them, which is odd, because they're not normally herd animals. Bakugo was there, naturally, and I think we managed to communicate with him? That's what Daniel claims, at any rate. It was trippy, to say the least.

Since then, Bakugo's stopped making people go to sleep, which is good, at least. But there's several weird things about it— not only was it a tangible dream, but the camera which we were using to film the surgery (have to keep everything recorded for the sake of the legal team, after all) stopped working while we were all dreaming. The footage was largely corrupted, but we did manage to rescue a few frames, one of which is attached below. I realize we deal with the unexplainable and weird all the time, but this is a whole other level.

William

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