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RZSS Tapir calf

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo keepers are hearing the “pitter-patter” of tiny hooves with the birth of an endangered Malayan Tapir calf.

The female calf, born on September 18, has been named Maya. The new arrival was welcomed by mother, Sayang, and father, Mowgli, and is being well cared for by her experienced mum.

Karen Stiven, Senior Hoofstock Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “Currently, Maya is staying very close to mum and she is doing well. She has the signature brown fur and white markings that all baby Tapirs are born with, which helps to provide camouflage in the forest. She will begin to get her adult coloration at around three months old. Sayang is a great mum with lots of practice under her belt now and she really knows the ropes. Tapirs are pregnant for around 13 months so it is great to finally see another healthy calf being born.”

“Maya will go on to play an important role in the conservation of her species as part of the wider European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. The programme has a high demand for female Tapirs to help create a diverse safety-net population to ensure that the species does not go extinct in the wild.”

RZSS Tapir calf 3

RZSS Tapir calf 2

RZSS Tapir calf 4Photo Credits: RZSS/Siân Addison

Listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, the species is increasingly threatened, with population numbers continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation as well as increasing hunting pressure.

The Malayan Tapir (Acrocodia indica), also known as the Asian Tapir, is the largest of four Tapir species and is the only Old World Tapir. Native to the rainforests of Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra and Thailand, Tapirs’ noses and upper lips are extended to form a prehensile proboscis, which they use to grab leaves. Female Tapirs have a long gestation period of 13 months before giving birth to a single calf.