Denver Zoo's Second Malayan Tapir Birth Goes Smoothly

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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.

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5 tapirPhoto credit: Denver Zoo

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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Palm Beach Zoo Welcomes Baby Baird's Tapir

Tapir by log
An endangered female Baird’s Tapir born on February 17 at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is the Zoo’s first birth of 2014. The calf was named Luna in a naming contest at nearby Palmetto Elementary School. 

Tapir eats out of Keeper April Winters hand
Keeper April Winters with tapirs
Photo Credit:  Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society

Jan Steele, General Curator for the Zoo, said from its birth, the calf has been in good health, and has been gaining weight at a steady rate. “At first, we monitored the calf, but gave Alyssa space to strengthen her bond with her baby,” explained Steele. “Because Alyssa rejected her first calf, we wanted to make sure she allowed this second one to nurse.” 

Zoo keepers had been studying methods to increase the likelihood that Alyssa would accept this calf, and had given her “scratch-downs” which calmed her and allowed multiple ultrasounds that showed the calf’s progress before it was born.

The calf’s weight was 40.5 pounds on March 7, when she was seventeen days old. Zoo keepers said the calf is on target to double in weight within her first three to four weeks of life, as Tapirs are expected to do.

See more photos and videos, and learn more about Tapirs below the fold.

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Keepers Step In to Care for Baby Tapir


Reid Park Zoo’s first baby of the year is a very special little one:  a Baird’s Tapir that was rejected by his mother and is now under the care of zoo keepers.

Photo Credit:  Reid Park Zoo 

After a 13-month gestation, female Tapir Contessa delivered the male calf on January 4.  While both mom and calf are healthy, Contessa did not nurse her calf and became aggressive toward him, prompting keepers to remove the baby for hand-rearing.

Zoo officials stress that hand-rearing baby animals is very rare at the zoo, but this calf’s importance to captive breeding efforts made him an exception.  

The Reid Park Zoo participates in the Baird’s Tapir Species Survival Plan®, a managed breeding program designed to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically stable group of animals.

Baird’s Tapirs are nocturnal creatures native to Mexico and Central America. Their flexible snouts are used to grab vegetation.  Baird’s Tapirs are endangered, due primarily to deforestation and illegal hunting.

Tiny Tapir Born at ZooParc de Beauval

Photo Credit:  ZooParc de Beauval

France’s ZooParc de Beauval welcomed a male Brazilian Tapir calf on November 12.  The calf, which has not yet been named, was born to experienced mother Florales.

Like all Brazilian Tapir calves, this little one has a dappled coat, which helps provide camouflage in the rain forest.  Once he reaches eight to nine months of age, he will develop the solid-colored coat of an adult tapir. 

Tapirs have an elongated, flexible proboscis which can move in all directions.  It is used to grab leaves and shoots that may otherwise be out of reach. 

Brazilian Tapirs, also known as Lowland or South American Tapirs, are born with white spots and stripes which act as camouflage in the wild, mimicking the dappled sunlight on the forest floor. These markings will disappear by the time the calves are about six months old. These animals are most active during the night and are found in the tropics of South and Central America. Tapirs have a short trunk, which they use to grab branches and leaves or to help pluck tasty fruit. They feed in the morning and evening. They are excellent swimmers and can dive to feed on aquatic plants.

Brazilian Tapirs are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, due to deforestation and hunting.

Minnesota Zoo Welcomes First Baby Tapir Born in Twenty Years

Tapir HERO

The Minnesota Zoo announced the birth of this Malayan Tapir calf, the first born at the Zoo in more than 20 years. The newborn, a female, came into the world at approximately 9:15 p.m. on July 20, after a 419-day gestation period. Mom, Bertie, and her calf are doing well and are currently off-exhibit together, giving them time to bond. But you can watch them on the zoo's Tapir Cam.

The Malayan Tapir is one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia. Tapir populations are declining due to habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes, flooding caused by dam building for hydroelectric projects, and illegal trade.

Tapir w: mom size

Tapir smile

Tapir tootsies
Photo Credit: Minnesota Zoo

Watch the baby and mom in action:

Read more after the fold.

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Help Name Dublin Zoo's Brazilian Tapir Calf

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Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a Brazilian Tapir! The male calf, born on July 1 to mom Rio and dad Marmaduke, is the breeding pair’s second calf. He has an older brother, Marmaduke Junior or "MJ", who was born at Dublin Zoo in June 2012. Dublin Zoo is inviting people to suggest names for the male Tapir calf based on his Brazilian origin. You can submit your suggestions through the zoo's Facebook page

“We are delighted with the birth of the Tapir calf," says team leader Eddie O’Brien. "He is already getting on really well with his older brother MJ, who is very protective of him. The calf was up and about quickly after he was born; he is already more adventurous than his older brother was at his age!”

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Photo Credits: Dublin Zoo

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Baby Boom at the UK's Paignton Zoo

Baby Capy

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has welcomed a crop of early summer babies. Among them is this Capybara, who was born on May 15, getting a nuzzle from mom. The Capybara hails from South America and is the largest rodent in the world. To aid them when in water, where they go for tender greens to eat and to beat the heat, they have webbed feet and thick fur -- and their eyes, ears, and nose are positioned high on their head, which they hold above the surface.

Just five days later, on May 20, this Brazilian Tapir was born. The Tapir uses its short, trunk-like nose to sniff its way through the forest, to pull leaves and shoots towards its mouth, and as a snorkel - they love water and are excellent swimmers.

And a Bornean Orangutan baby came into the world on April 11. In the wild, Orangutans are threatened by hunting, the pet trade, and the destruction of their rainforest habitat. Their forest home is rapidly being replaced by palm oil plantations due to a massive demand for this product in many of the foods we eat. You can help by looking at labels and switching to products that don't use palm oil. 

2013 05 PZ young tapir by Ray Wiltshire

2013 05 PZ yawning orang baby by Ray Wiltshire
Photo Credit: Ray Wiltshire

UPDATE: Baby Tapir at Salzburg Zoo is a Girl!

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Salzburg Zoo's new baby South American Tapir that ZooBorns first covered HERE is growing and thriving. Though it was born on March 1, vets only recently determined that it's a girl! Since then, the zoo has been asking the public to submit names for her and will decide on one very soon.

In the mean time, Mom Bibi has had to keep a watchful eye, since her little one has been into all sorts of mischief. What kind? You can see for yourself on the zoo's webcam, found on their website's homepage. You can tune in to see the the baby napping, playing or cuddling with Bibi, or nursing as seen on the webcam yesterday morning.

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Photo Credit: Zoo Salzburg

The IUCN lists the South American Tapir as vulnerable, due to the 30% population decline that has occurred over the past three generations. They are threatened by deforestation, competition with grazing livestock, and hunting. As large foragers, they are especially sensitive to habitat disruption. 

It's a Girl! Brevard Zoo Welcomes an Endangered Baird's Tapir

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A female Baird’s Tapir was born on April 2nd at Brevard Zoo. With her mother Josie and father Pewee, she brings the zoo's tapir count up to three. Mom and baby are doing well, bonding behind the scenes.  Both will be on exhibit in the near future. Before this new addition, Josie had given birth to four male offspring and one female.

Baird’s Tapir, an endangered species, tend to live near water sources in dense tropical forest throughout Central America. They are agile runners and swimmers, and will often take shelter in water when disturbed. These ancient herbivores have changed very little in the past thirty-five million years. Their trunk-like snout, called a proboscus, probably evolved more recently within the past few million years. These shy creatures are born with a pattern of spots and stripes that help young to camouflage on the dappled forest floor. The coloration fades as they mature. In the wild, young may stay with their mother for up to two years.

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Often called mountain cows, the Baird’s Tapir the largest indigenous mammal in Central America, and is the national animal of Belize. With the wild population estimated at less than 5,500 individuals, they are listed as endangered by the IUCN. They are threatened by extensive deforestation and habitat fragmentation, as well a local hunting. Brevard Zoo was particularly happy to welcome a female because she is very promising for the captive population. 

Tired Tapir Calf Takes a Break at Artis Zoo


When Ydra, a female South American Tapir at the Netherlands’ Artis Zoo, was restless and refused her food last week, zoo keepers knew it wouldn’t be long before she delivered her calf.  Sure enough, on April 10, a male calf was born and Ydra licked him clean as he lay beside her on the straw.

Named Alexandro, the calf is the first offspring for Ydra and her mate Carlo.  Though Alexandro was delivered breech (feet first), he was healthy and strong. At just one week old, he moved into the zoo’s mixed-species exhibit with Llamas, Maras, Capybaras, and Giant Anteaters.



Photo Credit:  Artis Zoo

South American Tapirs, also known as Brazilian Tapirs, are native to Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Paraguay, where they feed on leaves and fruits in the Amazon rain forest.  The brown-and-white speckled coat of Tapir calves provides camouflage in the dense forest.  These Tapirs are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  Alexandro’s birth is a significant contribution to the European breeding program for this species.

See more photos of Alexandro below the fold.

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