Marwell Wildlife is celebrating the recent birth of a Brazilian tapir. Born on 2 September to proud mum Summer and dad Ronny, the baby girl has been named ‘Quito’ (pronounced kito) after the capitol city of Ecuador, which lies in the western part of the tapir range. Quito was born with a very pretty coat of pale spots and stripes on a reddish brown background. When she is around a year old she will lose her markings and develop a beautiful light brown colour, just like her big sister Rio. “Quito is doing really well and is full of confidence, she loves nothing better than exploring her new home. Summer is an excellent mum, whilst her big sister Rio and dad Ronny are never far away in case she runs into trouble. Brazilian tapirs are generally shy animals however, our family are very easy going and Ronny in particular loves a tickle under his chin” said David White, Head keeper for the tapirs.
Brazilian tapirs live in the Amazon rainforest and spend much of their time foraging near water, which they also use as an escape route from predators such as jaguars. They are able to stay submerged for hours using their long noses to breathe through, just like a snorkel. Tapirs closest living relatives are hoofed animals likes horses and rhinos. Although not as critically endangered as the Malayan tapir, there are still several threats to the survival of the Brazilian tapirs including: illegal hunting, habitat fragmentation which can result in reduced genetic diversity and home range, plus loss of habitat by subsistence farmers and illegal logging. They are currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.