On April 11th, ‘Tiana’, a Brazilian Tapir, gave birth to a healthy male calf, at Linton Zoo!
Mom, ‘Tiana’, and dad, ‘Thiago’, are both part of a European Breeding Programme aimed at saving them from extinction. The birth of their yet-to-be-named son is extra exciting for keepers, as it represents a second generation of this family at Linton. Tiana was born at the UK zoo in 2010, and Thiago was born at nearby Paradise Wildlife Park, in Hertfordshire. The latest little one is the 14th Tapir calf to be born at Linton Zoo.
The Brazilian Tapir is a large, heavily built mammal of a strange prehistoric appearance. The Tapir is, in fact, so well adapted to its environment that it has remained unchanged for about 30 million years. It lives deep in the Brazilian rainforest, and because of the destruction of its habitat and illegal hunting, it is has already become extinct in part of its range. The Tapir is a shy creature, taking to water when threatened, where it is able to stay submerged for hours, using its long nose to snorkel until such time it feels it is safe to surface. They feed on roots and vegetation but never strip a bush bare of its leaves, zigzagging their way through the undergrowth, conserving the habitat.
The coloring is a dark reddish brown, but offspring are covered in a beautiful pattern of white spots and stripes, which they will retain until about six months of age. This provides a very efficient camouflage in the dappled shade of the forest.
The Brazilian Tapir is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.
More amazing pics, below the fold!