A healthy, five-pound tapir was born on March 1st at Zoo Salzburg. The sex of the cub has not been determined yet. The first-time mother, Bibi, is taking good care of her cub. Bibi came to Zoo Salzburg last year from Zoo Brno in the Czech Republic.
Tapir cubs are born with white spots and stripes that help them to camouflage in the rainforest understory of South America. They begin to lose their stripes at one to two months, and have an unmarked adult coat at six months old.
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Tapir's snouts are actually small, prehensile trunks which they use to gather fruits and strip leaves from branches. Their droppings are important for seed dispersal in the rainforest. Fully grown, these herbivores weigh from 500 to 800 pounds (227 to 363 kilograms). Tapirs are crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk), and also feed throughout the night.
The IUCN lists the South American Tapir as vulnerable, due to the 30% population decline that has occurred over the past three generations. They are threatened by deforestation, competition with grazing livestock, and hunting. As large foragers, they are especially sensitive to habitat disruption.