The zakru is the Western Frontier’s largest megafauna.
Akin to the Earth’s elephant, the zakru has a prehensile trunk that it uses for feeding, though in its own unique way. Between the back legs of the zakru is a long, wide tail that serves as the endpoint of its digestive system, somewhat like that of a worm. A frilled, boney crest protects the front of its face and large horns curve around the eye sockets. The soles of a zakru foot are cushioned by strong, spongy fat deposits, capable of carrying the zakru’s great weight for many miles.
Zakru are fungivores with no natural predators. They feed on colonies of microorganisms found beneath the soil. When such a colony is detected, the animal lays down and buries its tail and trunk deep into the ground. The creature’s tongue then unfurls, branching into long tubes which burrow deeply away from the zakru. Then, entering a state of torpor, the zakru draws the fungi in, extracts their nutrients, and excretes the waste from its tail back into the soil, facilitating future fungal growth. This feeding-torpor state can last for weeks or months before a fungal colony is consumed. Then the zakru wakes and moves on.
A migratory herd animal, zakru live and travel in groups, most followed at all times by Na’vi of the Zeswa clan. Occasional smaller groups and sometimes even lone Zakru can be spotted on the plains, moving from feeding ground to feeding ground. Zakru live long lives, so their relationship with the Zeswa can span multiple generations. The clan lives in complete symbiosis with the zakru, making food from the zakru milk and finding warmth and shelter in the shade of these resting creatures.
The zakru are deeply empathetic creatures who can sense the presence of danger near the clan, as well as changes in their moods. When the Zeswa grieve, so do the zakru. And, when they celebrate, the animals sleep, content.