Tapir Gets Tonguey at Howletts Wild Animal Park

Howletts Tapir 3

This past February, Howletts Wild Animal Park in the United Kingdom received the latest member of its family, a healthy male baby Brazilian Tapir. The little boy, who has been named Inca, spent the first few months of his life indoors and off exhibit due to the cold weather. He spent his time inside with the warmth of shelter, and the comfort of his mother.

To help make sure that his indoor enclosure stayed warm enough, a local plastic and insulation company, PAR Group, donated a special plastic door curtain to help with insulation. "Our latest baby Tapir has been born during the really cold weather, but thanks to the generosity of the PAR Group they are snug and warm inside their shelter with the plastic door strips on the entrance," said Animal Director Neil Spooner.

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Photo Credits: Dave Rolfe / Howletts Wild Animal Park

Now that the weather has begun to warm up, Inca has begun to explore his exhibit for visitors to see. "The little fella is doing really well and mum is keeping a close eye on him. Now that the weather is showing some signs of becoming milder, visitors should be able to spot them more easily, as they explore their paddock," explained Joel Bunce, the head of animal park's hoofstock section.

See and learn more after the fold!

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Zoo Salzburg's Tapir Cub Sports a Striped Birthday Suit

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A healthy, five-pound tapir was born on March 1st at Zoo Salzburg. The sex of the cub has not been determined yet. The first-time mother, Bibi, is taking good care of her cub. Bibi came to Zoo Salzburg last year from Zoo Brno in the Czech Republic. 

Tapir cubs are born with white spots and stripes that help them to camouflage in the rainforest understory of South America. They begin to lose their stripes at one to two months, and have an unmarked adult coat at six months old. 

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Tapir hero

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Photo credits: Zoo Salzburg 

Read more after the fold.

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Nashville Zoo Keepers Administer Emergency Mouth To Snout CPR To Save a Baby Tapir

Tapir calf - Amiee Stubbs

By January 12, Nashville Zoo Animal Care Staff had waited over 13 months for the arrival of the Zoo's second Baird's Tapir in two years. Soon after the calf's delivery it became clear that something was wrong.

The baby’s embryonic sac did not break, so he could not breathe and began to rapidly lose vitality. Zoo staff made the decision to intervene and moved mother Houston out of the stall. They then freed the baby from the sac, verified he still had a heart rate, and immediately cleared his airways and performed mouth-to-nose resuscitation until he was fully breathing on his own. Thanks to their heroic efforts and quick action, the calf is doing well.

Calf with Mother - Amiee Stubbs



Photo credits: Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo

This is the second birth for mom Houston and her mate Romeo, who came to Nashville Zoo from Central America in 2008 to introduce a new genetic line into the United States Tapir population. Veteran ZooBorns readers may recall the 2010 birth of Noah, the pair's first-born.

“This birth is significant because it helps sustain a genetically diverse population of Tapirs in the United States,” said Lanny Brown, hoofstock supervisor at Nashville Zoo. “Tapirs have a gestation period of more than 13 months, so we have been looking forward to this baby for a long time.”

Read more and see the rest of the calf's baby pictures below the fold.

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Baby Tapir Gets a Cool Hairstyle from Mom at Wroclaw ZOO

Tapir CU

On January 6, Poland's Wroclaw ZOO welcomed the birth of a little female South American Tapir. This striped little girl is healthy, nursing regularly, and growing strong. She will be weaned in about 6 months. She has been named Melba, and spends her days in an indoor exhibit where guests can watch her playing and cuddling with Sabrina, her mother. 

Although this is Sabrina's ninth baby, she is a little bit overprotective. According to keepers, Mom spends a little too much time licking her daughter.... but the youngster is very patient and calmly tolerates this nurturing behavior. As a result, the baby often has hair that looks a little spiky, like she used hair gel. 

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Tapir side

Photo Credit: Wroclaw ZOO

The South American Tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is one of four species in the Tapir family, along with the mountain, the Malayan, and the Baird's Tapirs. It is the second-largest land mammal in South America, after the Baird's Tapir. Females go through a gestation period of roughly 13 months and in most all cases, have one offspring every two years. 

Since 1970, the South American Tapir has been classified as Endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, though it has a significantly lower risk of extinction than the other three Tapir species. Their numbers are dwindling due to poaching for their hide and meat, as well as the destruction of their natural habitat by man.

UPDATE: Zoo Brno’s Tapir Calf Gets Frisky

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Celestýnka, a Brazilian Tapir born this fall at Zoo Brno in the Czech Republic, is getting plenty of exercise these days as he runs, jumps, and plays in his snowy outdoor enclosure.  The calf has grown considerably since he was featured on ZooBorns as a little newborn.

Zoo Brno fans voted to name the chubby little calf, who was born to parents Cusco and Neny.  Celestýnka’s antics have made him a favorite with zoo visitors and staff, as well as a capybara that shares his enclosure (look for this large rodent in the photos).

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Brno

Brazilian Tapirs are native to the northern half of South America, where they roam the underbrush of rain forests in the region.  They are often found near waterways and are excellent swimmers.  Tapirs’ aquatic habits make them vulnerable to attacks by crocodiles and anacondas.  Jaguars and cougars prey on Tapirs sleeping on riverbanks. 

Predators are not Tapirs’ only threats: Tapirs are listed as vulnerable to extinction due to large-scale habitat destruction and poaching for their meat and hide.

Take a peek at Prague Zoo's baby Tapir!


The Czech Republic’s Prague Zoo celebrated the birth of a Malayan Tapir on November 6.  Born to mother Ivana, the male baby is only the second Tapir ever born in the history of the zoo.

The baby’s birth lasted only 30 minutes, and the calf was immediately “alive and kicking,” according to staff reports.  For now, the calf prefers to stay close to Ivana in the zoo’s exhibit.




All Malayan Tapir calves are born with a dappled brown and white coat, which offers excellent camouflage in its native southeast Asian rain forest.  By the time the baby is about six months old, it will develop the solid black and white coloration of the adults. 

Malayan Tapirs are endangered.  Once found throughout the Malay peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, their range has been drastically fragmented in recent years due to deforestation, damming of rivers, and illegal trade. 

Photo Credit:  Prague Zoo

Twycross Welcomes a Tapir Toddler

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On Friday, October 19th the Twycross Zoo welcomed a female Brazilian Tapir calf to Muffin (mom) and Pele (dad). The healthy calf has been suckling well and exhibiting bursts of exuberance, romping around her enclosure and then retreating to the indoor area for a snooze.

Tapirs give birth to a single youngster after a gestation period of about 13 months. The baby has a striped and spotted coat which she will lose as she grows older. Brazilian Tapirs are found in lowland regions of northern and central South America and listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Redlist. This young female Tapir born only a week ago at Twycross Zoo will play a very important role in the European Breeding Programme of this species.

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Snouts up!

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Tapir Tongue Out Twycross Zoo 5Photo credits: Twycross Zoo

Mouth to Snout CPR Saves Tiny Tapir

Baby Tapir Dumadi at Denver Zoo 1

A newborn Malayan Tapir calf is alive and doing well thanks to the heroic efforts of two Denver Zoo staff members. On September 3, Denver Zoo's female Tapir, Rinny, gave birth inside the Rhino/Tapir building of Toyota Elephant Passage. Staff watched as Rinny unsuccessfully attempted to free the infant from inside its amniotic sac. Assistant Curator of Toyota Elephant Passage Rebecca McCloskey safely separated mother and calf then freed the newborn from the sac for inspection. Together with staff veterinarian Gwen Jankowski, they began providing mouth to snout rescue breaths and manually stimulated the baby for regular breathing and in order to expel liquid from his lungs. After a few minutes of rescue efforts, the infant successfully began to breathe on his own. The scene was captured on video tape inside the zoo's Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit.

"It's always a little scary when something like this happens, but thankfully we all have great resources and training," says McCloskey. "It was such a relief to see him finally take those first breaths."

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Baby Tapir Dumadi at Denver Zoo 2Photo credits: Denver Zoo

Thanks to the zoo staffers' efforts, the young infant named Dumadi is now walking and swimming just fine. The Tapir is currently doing well with his mother behind the scenes. This is the first birth of his species at the zoo and the first birth of any species in Toyota Elephant Passage.

Dumadi, named for the Indonesian word meaning "becoming," is the first birth for both Rinny and his father, Benny. Benny was born at the City of Belfast Zoo in Ireland in 2006 and arrived at Denver Zoo from Toronto Zoo in 2007. Rinny was born at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo in 2007 and came to Denver Zoo from there in 2010. The two 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. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.

See the rescue and the baby's first swim below!

As adults, Malayan Tapirs have a distinctive color pattern that some people say resembles an Oreo cookie, with black front and back parts 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 and protect them from predators.

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. They stand more than 3-feet-tall and can stretch from between 6 to 8-feet-long. They can also weigh more than 1,100 pounds. They are also excellent swimmers and spend much of their time in water. They can even use their flexible noses as snorkels!

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 (IUCN) due to habitat loss and hunting.

It's Baby Tapir Time at Zoo Tel Aviv


Only 15 months ago, Zoo Tel Aviv's 7-year-old Tapir mother gave birth to her first calf. Now the zoo is celebrating the arrival of its first male ever male calf. The spotted bundle of joy weighs only 11 pounds and has already begun to explore his exhibit. Now experienced mother Passiflora has demonstrated outstanding mothering skills, but to ensure that her baby gets enough milk, keepers coax her to lie on her side with belly rubs. Father Tapiro is spending these first days separated from mom and her calf to allow them a stress free bonding period.

Brazilian Tapirs are considered "vulnerable" to extinction. Zoo Tel Aviv and its Tapir pair are playing a part in Tapir conservation through the EEP (European Endangered Species Program).





Photo and video credit: Tibor Jäger


Zoo Brno's Got a Brand New Baby Tapir


The big news at The Czech Republic's Zoo Brno is the arrival of a new born Brazilian Tapir. The calf's parents are named Cusco and Neny, and Zoo Brno has asked its fans what the baby's name should be. What do you think she should be named?

Native to the lowland regions of northern and central South America, Brazilian Tapirs eat fruits, leaves, stems, sprouts, small branches, grasses, aquatic plants, tree bark, aquatic organisms, and cane, melon, cocoa, rice, and corn from plantations. They are considered vulnerable to extinction because of habitat destruction.



Photo credit: Zoo Brno