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.
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.