A male Brazilian Tapir has been born at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. The new arrival, named Dexter, was born on Sunday, February 5th. His parents are Misha and Ryan. Paignton Zoo has enjoyed regular successes with Tapirs, breeding seven young over the last 11 years.
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park Director of Operations and Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment said: “There are few zoo youngsters as endearing as a baby Tapir. It is always good news to breed such a popular and charismatic species.”
Brazilian or lowland tapirs are threatened due to habitat destruction and hunting for food. The population in European zoos is managed co-operatively.
Tapirs live in wet forest and grassland, where they eat grasses, leaves, buds, fruits and aquatic vegetation. The tapir's short, fleshy, trunk-like nose helps the animal to sniff its way through the forest and is a sensitive finger used to pluck leaves and shoots. This prehensile snout also makes a great snorkel when the tapirs are bathing. They love water and are excellent swimmers.
A single youngster is born after a gestation period of about 13 months. Baby tapirs have striped and spotted coats for camouflage but they lose their patterns as they grow older.