An incredibly cute…and incredibly stripy South American Tapir calf was born, May 19, at Prague Zoo. The little male is the offspring of 15-year-old ‘Ivana’ and 12-year-old ‘Tex’.
The delivery was smooth, and Ivana immediately stepped into her role as new mom. Ivana has successfully reared two other calves, and so far, the newest baby appears healthy and content.
Father, Tex, is very attached to his mate, Ivana, and keepers decided not to separate them during the pregnancy and birth. Tex has been a model father, and has been responding very well to his new son.
South American Tapirs were first bred in Prague Zoo between 1950 and 1957. Then, for a period of almost 47 years, there was not another tapir birth until the arrival of Ivana’s first offspring in 2004.
The South American Tapir, or Brazilian Tapir, is one of five species in the tapir family, along with the Mountain Tapir, Malayan Tapir, Baird’s Tapir, and the Kabomani Tapir. It is the second-largest land mammal in South America, after the Baird’s Tapir.
The tapir is an herbivore. It uses its mobile snout to feed on leaves, buds, shoots, and small branches it tears from trees. Tapirs also enjoy fruit, grasses, and aquatic plants.
The Brazilian Tapir is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Dwindling numbers are due to poaching for their meat and hides. Habitat destruction also plays a role in their endangerment.