Denver Zoo is celebrating the birth of an endangered Malayan Tapir calf! The male calf, named Baku (Bah-koo), was born to mother, Rinny, and father, Benny, late in the evening on April 29. He the second offspring of this pair, and only the second birth of his species at the zoo.
Fortunately, his delivery was much easier than the first. The first calf, Dumadi, was born in September 2012. While his birth was normal, the events immediately following were difficult. After Rinny unsuccessfully attempted to free Dumadi from his amniotic sac, two staff members raced in to free the newborn from the sac, providing mouth-to-snout rescue breaths and manually stimulating the newborn for regular breathing in order to expel liquid from his lungs. After a few minutes of rescue efforts, Dumadi successfully began to breathe on his own.
Fortunately, Baku's delivery went smoothly, and the newborn calf is healthy. He will remain behind the scenes in Toyota Elephant Passage while being cared for by his mother until they are comfortable enough to venture outdoors. Until then, visitors can see live, closed-circuit video of Baku on monitors inside Toyota Elephant Passage.
'Baku' is the Japanese word for tapir. Baku are also supernatural spirits in Chinese and Japanese folklore that take children’s nightmares away and protect against evil. They are often depicted as having some tapir-like physical characteristics.
Malayan Tapirs are the only tapir native to Asia. Once found throughout Southeast Asia, they now inhabit only the rainforests of the Indochinese peninsula and Sumatra. With a wild population of less than 2,000 individuals they are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat loss and hunting.
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