Tapir

Nashville Zoo Celebrates Fourth Tapir Birth

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a male Baird’s Tapir. The yet-to-be-named calf arrived on March 7 and weighed-in at 22.8 pounds. 

This is the second calf for four-year-old mom, Juju. The calf’s father, Romeo, passed-away last year. Romeo was also the father of Tybalt, the Nashville Zoo’s other male Tapir, who was born in August 2016.

With the addition of the new calf, the Zoo is now home to three Baird’s Tapirs. A total of four Baird’s Tapirs have been born at Nashville Zoo since the species was introduced there in 2008.

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3_39817096715_20ed153cdd_oPhoto Credits: Stephanie Edling / Nashville Zoo

Tapirs have a gestation period of approximately 13 months. Keepers had been closely monitoring Juju’s progress and noticed she was restless the day before she gave birth. Once Juju went into labor, she welcomed her new calf about five minutes later, without the help of keepers.

“Congratulations to the keepers who worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth birth for Juju,” said Jonathon Hankins, Area Supervisor for Hoofstock. “They know these animals down to the tiniest details, and it is this dedication that will help us make the future for this little guy as bright as possible.”

Keepers estimate the calf will go out on exhibit within a few weeks, once the mother deems the calf is fit to explore outside. Tapirs are also sensitive to colder temperatures, so they will not go outside unless the temperature is above 60 degrees F.

This birth is significant because this species is currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. Baird’s Tapirs are threatened by hunting, population fragmentation and habitat destruction.

Baird's Tapirs (Tapirus bairdii) are broad, primitive creatures whose appearance has changed little in thousands of years. A relative of the horse and the rhino, Tapirs are the largest land animal in Central and South America.

Though an adult Baird’s Tapir’s coat is solid brown, babies are born with unique markings, similar to brown and white-striped watermelons. Juvenile tapirs lose these markings after one year.


Minnesota Zoo Announces Malayan Tapir Birth

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The Minnesota Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of an endangered Malayan Tapir calf. The little female, named Indah, was born on January 6 after an approximately 400-day gestation period and weighed-in at 16 pounds.

According to keepers, the new calf and mom, Bertie, are doing well. This is the Minnesota Zoo’s third tapir birth in 6 years. The new calf is also one of only 37 tapirs that are currently housed in zoos across North American.

The little one is bonding with mom behind the scenes. Until she goes into the public tapir habitat along the zoo’s Tropics Trail, she can be seen via the Minnesota Zoo’s social media channels and a special webcam.

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4_MN Zoo Tapir Calf Check-UpPhoto Credits: Minnesota Zoo

The Malayan Tapir's gestation period varies from 390-419 days. Mothers usually give birth every 2-4 years to a single calf, and twins are rare. At birth, a calf weighs approximately 10-20 pounds. For the first 6-8 months of their life, tapir calves resemble furry watermelons with legs. They are dark brown to black with alternating bands of yellowish-white stripes and spots. Young tapirs grow quickly and can weigh as much as 450 pounds at one year of age; they reach adult size in 2-3 years.

“We are very excited to welcome this new tapir to the Minnesota Zoo. Malayan Tapirs are endangered and this birth is a significant conservation achievement, as it’s estimated that fewer than 1,500 exist in the wild. The recent success we’ve had with tapir births over the past six years is an example of the incredible care our zookeeper and veterinary teams provides our animals,” said Tropics Trail curator, Tom Ness.

Malayan Tapirs (Tapirus indicus) are one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia. Their population is declining due to road mortality, habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes (palm oil), flooding caused by dam building for hydroelectric projects, and illegal trade. The public can help wild tapirs by shopping smart for sustainable palm oil.

In human care, Malayan Tapirs are managed for breeding purposes by a Species Survival Plan (SSP), which, through the coordinated efforts of several zoos throughout North America, helps maintain a backup gene pool for the future aid of the wild population. The Minnesota Zoo currently participates in many SSP programs, including the one for the Malayan Tapir.


Sarah the Tapir Debuts at Wrocław Zoo

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On January 31, a female South American Tapir calf was born at Poland’s Wrocław Zoo. The baby, named Sarah, will be part of zoo breeding programs designed to save this Vulnerable species.

Sarah weighed about 13 pounds and had a body length of about 18 inches at birth. Her brown fur is covered in white stripes and blotches. In the South American forests where wild Tapirs live, these spots would offer camouflage in the sun-dappled woodlands.

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IMAG0094Photo Credit: Wrocław Zoo

Sarah’s mother, 23-year-old Sonia, was also born at the Wrocław Zoo. Her father is 22-year-old Tapinos.

Though Tapirs usually live alone in the wild, the three Tapirs at Wrocław Zoo have formed a family group, with both adults caring for the calf. Sarah spends most of her time nursing or sleeping. While exploring or running, Sarah is still uncoordinated and might take a tumble. When this happens, Sonia is always at her baby’s side and checks to see if she is alright. If a stranger approaches, Sonia shields her baby with her body.

Sarah will eventually leave Wrocław Zoo for another facility, where she will be paired with a genetically-compatible mate. The goal of zoo breeding programs is to develop sustainable populations with high genetic diversity.  

South American Tapirs are one of five species of Tapirs living today. The others are the Mountain Tapir, Malayan Tapir, Baird’s Tapir, and Kabomani Tapir. They have short prehensile snouts, which aid in grabbing tender foliage to eat.

Poaching and habitat loss have caused Tapir numbers to decrease dramatically in recent years.

See more photos of Sarah below.

Continue reading "Sarah the Tapir Debuts at Wrocław Zoo" »


Franklin Park Zoo's 'Baby New Year' Needs a Name

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Franklin Park Zoo’s new Baird’s Tapir made her exhibit debut last week, and now the sweet calf needs a name!

Zoo New England is running a naming contest via CrowdRise, with donations supporting Global Wildlife Conservation’s Nicaragua Tapir Project. With a $5 minimum donation, members of the public can vote for their favorite name for the calf, now through January 31. Follow this link to vote: https://www.crowdrise.com/babytapir

The female calf was born on January 1 to 28-year-old dad, Milton, and 13-year-old mom, Abby. This is the fourth offspring for both parents.

ZooBorns featured news of the birth in a January 8 post: “New Year, New Tapir at Franklin Park Zoo”.

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4_Tapir Jan 2018 (9)Photo Credits: Franklin Park Zoo / Zoo New England

Zoo New England participates in the Baird’s Tapir Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild. Because the AZA managed Tapir population is so small – 29 males and 20 females (including the new calf) – every successful birth and survival helps to secure the captive population. The new female calf at Franklin Park Zoo helps to balance out this small, but male skewed population.

Continue reading "Franklin Park Zoo's 'Baby New Year' Needs a Name" »


New Year, New Tapir at Franklin Park Zoo

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New Year’s Day was extra special at Franklin Park Zoo… a Baird’s Tapir, named Abby, gave birth to a female calf.

The calf was born on January 1 to 28-year-old dad, Milton, and 13-year-old mom, Abby. This is the fourth offspring for both parents.

The soon-to-be-named calf recently had her first vet examination. The exam included blood work and a general physical. The calf weighed-in at 20.5 pounds and appears to be in good health.

“Abby is an experienced mother, and she is being very attentive to her new baby, who is strong and has been nursing well. As with any new birth, we are carefully monitoring the health of the new calf and the mother,” said Dr. Alex Becket, Zoo New England Associate Veterinarian in the department of Animal Health.

The baby’s arrival was long awaited by the Animal Care staff, as the gestation period for Baird’s Tapirs is thirteen months. Similar to a deer fawn, Baird’s Tapir calves are distinctly marked with watermelon like white stripes and spots, which help to camouflage them in the dappled light of the rainforest. The stripes begin to fade between five and six months of age.

“We are thrilled to share this wonderful news,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “Given the small size of the North American captive population, this is a very important birth for this endangered species. Zoo New England is committed to Tapir conservation and has supported important field work being done on behalf of Baird’s Tapirs in Nicaragua.”

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4_IMG_9874Photo Credits: Zoo New England/Sarah Woodruff

ZNE participates in the Baird’s Tapir Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild. Because the AZA managed Tapir population is so small – 29 males and 20 females (including the new calf) – every successful birth and survival helps to secure the captive population. The new female calf at Franklin Park Zoo helps to balance out this small, but male skewed population.

Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii), also known as the Central American Tapir, is a species of native to Mexico, Central America and northwestern South America.

They are the largest land mammal found in South America and are classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN Red List. While they are hunted for food and sport, their greatest threat to survival is habitat destruction due to logging and clearing of land for agriculture and development. In addition to humans, jaguars are the only other significant threat to this animals’ survival in the wild.

The Baird’s Tapirs, at Franklin Park Zoo, make their home in the ‘Tropical Forest’ exhibit. The new baby is expected to make her public debut within a few weeks.


Meet Zoo de Beauval’s Handsome New Tapir

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Zoo de Beauval is pleased to announce the birth of a male Brazilian Tapir. The handsome three-week-old has been named Diego.

Attentive mother, Chiquita, has been protectively caring for her sweet, striped son. The new family, including dad Farrusco, is at home in the Zoo’s South American exhibit.

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4_22769813_1781610285197243_4033519976349854851_oPhoto Credits: Zoo de Beauval

The South American or Brazilian Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is one of five species in the Tapir family, including: the Mountain Tapir, the Malayan Tapir, the Baird's Tapir, and the Kabomani Tapir.

They are excellent swimmers and divers, but they can also move quickly on land and rugged, mountainous terrain. They have a life span of approximately 25 to 30 years. When frightened, they are known to run toward water to take cover.

Brazilian Tapirs are herbivores. Using their nose, they can feed on leaves, buds, shoots, and small branches torn from trees, fruit, grasses, and aquatic plants.

They generally mate in late Spring through early Summer. Females go through a gestation period of 13 months (390–395 days) and will typically have one offspring every two years. Newborns weigh about 15 pounds and are weaned at about six months of age.

The Brazilian Tapir is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Dwindling numbers are due to poaching for meat and hide, as well as habitat destruction. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service designated the species as “Endangered” on June 2, 1970.


‘Pitter-Patter' of Tapir Hooves at Edinburgh Zoo

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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.”

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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.


Umi the Newborn Tapir Gets Her First Exam

Baby_tapir-Umi_01Denver Zoo is happy to announce the birth of Umi, an endangered Malayan Tapir. The female calf, whose name means “life” in Malayan, was born to mother Rinny and father Benny early in the morning on May 6. She is only the third Malayan Tapir ever  born at the Denver Zoo. 

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Baby_tapir-Umi_03Photo Credit: Denver Zoo



Rinny has already proven to be a very patient mother, calmly making sure Umi is nursing successfully. Rinny was born at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo and Benny, who was born at the City of Belfast Zoo in Ireland were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals.

Though they are most closely related to Horses and Rhinos, Tapirs are similar in build to Pigs, but significantly larger. Malayan Tapirs have a large, barrel shaped body ideal for crashing through dense forest vegetation. Their noses and upper lips are extended to form a long, prehensile snout, similar to a stubby version of an Elephant’s trunk. Malayan Tapirs are the largest of the four Tapir species. As adults, they can stand more than three feet tall and are six to eight feet long. Adult Tapirs weigh between 700 and 900 pounds. They are excellent swimmers and spend much of their time in water. They can even use their flexible noses as snorkels!

As adults, Malayan Tapirs have a distinctive color pattern that some people say resembles an Oreo cookie, black in the front and back, separated by a white or gray midsection. This provides excellent camouflage that breaks up the Tapir’s outline in the shadows of the forest. By contrast, young Tapirs have color patterns that more resemble brown watermelons, with spots and stripes, which help them blend into the dappled sunlight and leaf shadows of the forest to protect them from predators.

Malayan Tapirs are the only Tapir native to Asia. Once found throughout Southeast Asia, they now inhabit only the rain forests 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 (IUCN), due to habitat loss and hunting. 


New Malayan Tapir Calf at Antwerp Zoo

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A Malayan Tapir was born at Antwerp Zoo on October 7th!

This is the second baby for mom, Nakal. After thirteen months of pregnancy, the birth went very quickly and smoothly. The young calf is doing well and has been running around a lot. This is the seventh young Tapir for Antwerp, and with a little luck, patrons can catch a glimpse of the newest member.

At birth, the brand new baby weighed about 9 kg (35 times less than his parents). Mother and baby have been spending lots of bonding time in the safety of their nesting house with a large window. Wherever mom goes, her little one is not far behind. The young calf’s father is the late Kamal. According to Antwerp Zoo, Kamal died unexpectedly two months ago.

The little ones sex is still unknown; but once it is revealed, keepers are planning to compile a list of their top three choices for a name and allow fans to vote via the Zoo’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/zooantwerpen 2_14656302_1118178994924892_5302609410460120688_n

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4_fotolink_TAPIR-3Photo Credits: ZOO Antwerpen

The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), also known as the Asian Tapir, is the largest of four Tapir species and is the only Old World Tapir. They are native to the rainforests of Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra and Thailand. Their noses and upper lips are extended to form a prehensile proboscis, which they use to grab leaves. Tapirs normally measure 1.8 to 2.5m (6 to 8 feet) in length, with a shoulder height of 0.9 to 1.1m. (3 to 3.5 feet).

The animals are related to both the Horse and the Rhinoceros. They are an ‘odd-toed’ animal, having four toes on each front foot and three toes on each back foot.

Malayan Tapirs also have poor eyesight, which makes them rely heavily on their excellent senses of smell and hearing.

They are also known for their unusual courtship ritual, which involves an assortment of wheezing and whistling sounds. They will sniff each other, walking around in circles before mating. Females have a long gestation period of 13 months before giving birth to a single calf.

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Baby Tapir Shows Off His Snout

ASX_5910-Amiee-Stubbs-web TWLike all baby Tapirs, a newborn Baird’s Tapir born August 28 at the Nashville Zoo looks suspiciously like a brown watermelon with a snout.  But rest assured, this little male will eventually sport a smooth, dark brown coat and weigh up to 800 pounds.

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ASX_5920-Amiee-Stubbs-webPhoto Credit:  Amiee Stubbs

The calf’s parents, Romeo and Juliet, were brought to the Nashville Zoo from Central America to introduce a new genetic line to the zoo-dwelling Tapir population. 

Because this calf was Juliet’s first baby, the zoo staff set up a remote camera system and monitored her around the clock as her delivery date approached.  Juliet went into labor at 4:00 PM on August 28 and delivered her healthy calf just 20 minutes later.  Tapirs are pregnant for about 400 days.

Tapirs’ snouts are elongated and very flexible.  These snouts are used to grab leaves and other vegetation and pass it to the mouth.    

Baird’s Tapirs are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, where they are the largest land mammals.  They have very few natural predators, but are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, mainly due to habitat destruction and poaching.  Tapirs are legally protected in most of their range, but lack of enforcement results in significant losses.