A Brazilian Tapir baby named Little Ron, at only 9 days old, is now out and about in his paddock at Marwell Wildlife. Born with a very pretty coat of pale spots and stripes on a reddish brown background, he is delighting visitors with his striking appearance. When he is about a year old he will lose his markings and develop a beautiful light brown color, just like his mom Summer and sister Quito. He's named ‘Little Ron’ in memory of his Dad, Ronaldo, who sadly died at the park last month after an acute illness.
Section Manager David White said: “Staff miss Ronaldo greatly and he was a popular character amongst visitors to the park- so we thought it would be nice to carry on his memory by calling the baby Little Ron.
“Summer is coping well and has had some assistance from Quito, her previous offspring. She is very attentive and protective of him, always keeping a look out and calling him when he is out of view, although this all changes when food is about!!”
“Quito was very interested in the birth and almost acted like a birthing companion for her mom. She has been helping to keep him occupied and is keeping a watchful eye over him.”
Brazilian tapirs are currently listed as vulnerable in the wild due to habitat loss, illegal hunting and competition with livestock.
Brazilian Tapir facts:
· The tapir’s closest relatives are horses and rhinos.
· They inhabit jungle and forest lands in Central and South America as well as in South East Asia.
· A female tapir breeds once a year, the gestation period being 12 to 13 months
.· One of their main features is a short proboscis, an extension of the nose and upper lip, like an elephant’s trunk which has nostrils at the tip. It is used to pull and hold the branches of trees while the tapir is feeding.