Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a Brazilian Tapir! The male calf, born on July 1 to mom Rio and dad Marmaduke, is the breeding pair’s second calf. He has an older brother, Marmaduke Junior or "MJ", who was born at Dublin Zoo in June 2012. Dublin Zoo is inviting people to suggest names for the male Tapir calf based on his Brazilian origin. You can submit your suggestions through the zoo's Facebook page.
“We are delighted with the birth of the Tapir calf," says team leader Eddie O’Brien. "He is already getting on really well with his older brother MJ, who is very protective of him. The calf was up and about quickly after he was born; he is already more adventurous than his older brother was at his age!”
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The story of Dublin Zoo’s tapirs is a heartwarming one. Two years ago, Rio arrived at Dublin Zoo from Marwell Wildlife in the UK to join Marmaduke. Marmaduke had recently lost his long term female partner, Hillary. The keepers were hoping that the pair would connect, and in just over one year, Dublin Zoo was celebrating the birth of the pair’s first born calf. Now, just 12 months later, they welcome this new male calf. While this is Rio’s second calf, Marmaduke has successfully fathered 18 calves to date.
Brazilian Tapirs, also known as Lowland or South American Tapirs, are born with white spots and stripes which act as camouflage in the wild, mimicking the dappled sunlight on the forest floor. These markings will disappear by the time the calves are about six months old. These animals are most active during the night and are found in the tropics of South and Central America. Tapirs have a short trunk, which they use to grab branches and leaves or to help pluck tasty fruit. They feed in the morning and evening. They are excellent swimmers and can dive to feed on aquatic plants.
Brazilian Tapirs are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, due to deforestation and hunting.