A female Baird’s Tapir was born on April 2nd at Brevard Zoo. With her mother Josie and father Pewee, she brings the zoo's tapir count up to three. Mom and baby are doing well, bonding behind the scenes. Both will be on exhibit in the near future. Before this new addition, Josie had given birth to four male offspring and one female.
Baird’s Tapir, an endangered species, tend to live near water sources in dense tropical forest throughout Central America. They are agile runners and swimmers, and will often take shelter in water when disturbed. These ancient herbivores have changed very little in the past thirty-five million years. Their trunk-like snout, called a proboscus, probably evolved more recently within the past few million years. These shy creatures are born with a pattern of spots and stripes that help young to camouflage on the dappled forest floor. The coloration fades as they mature. In the wild, young may stay with their mother for up to two years.
Often called mountain cows, the Baird’s Tapir the largest indigenous mammal in Central America, and is the national animal of Belize. With the wild population estimated at less than 5,500 individuals, they are listed as endangered by the IUCN. They are threatened by extensive deforestation and habitat fragmentation, as well a local hunting. Brevard Zoo was particularly happy to welcome a female because she is very promising for the captive population.