There is a new addition to Bristol Zoo’s Brazilian Tapir family. A tiny baby calf will join parents Tamang and Denzil and big sister Tip Tap. The three week old Brazilian Tapir calf has been sexed as male and is the seventh born to the Zoo’s current adult Tapirs. The calf currently has a distinct spotted and striped coat of light brown fur that is similar in all young Tapir species and provides ideal camouflage in their native forest habitat. However, this coloration will slowly disappear between six and nine months of age to be replaced with an overall coloring of dark, chocolate brown. Emily Pugh, senior mammal keeper at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “The calf is strong and full of life and can be seen exploring his enclosure with his mother.” Emily added: “He is very inquisitive, always learning and discovering, but likes to stay close to mum, Tamang.”
Currently the size of a small dog, the little calf will grow up to be the size of a Shetland pony, reaching his full adult size and weight of anything between 150-300 kg (330-660lbs) by the age of fourteen months. The birth of the calf is a significant contribution to the conservation of Brazilian tapirs, which are currently listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Threatened with extinction from extensive hunting and deforestation, the breeding programme in which Bristol Zoo Gardens is involved helps raise awareness of the threats facing tapirs in the wild.