Brookfield, Ill. — The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the birth of a male South American tapir calf on May 22. Beginning, May 26, zoogoers will be able to see 11-year-old mom Sorghum (pronounced SOAR-gum) and her yet-to-be-named calf indoors at the Pachyderm House. Once the weather warms a little, they will have access to their outdoor habitat, located on the north side of the building.
Credits: Lynette Kleisner/CZS-Brookfield Zoo
Following a 13-month gestation, Sorghum gave birth to the approximately 20-pound calf. Throughout her pregnancy, the zoo’s veterinary staff was able to monitor the fetus with regular ultrasounds. To accomplish this voluntary behavior from Sorghum, animal care specialists used positive reinforcement to desensitize the 550-pound mother-to-be to the sound of the ultrasound machine, the smell of rubbing alcohol and gel used on the ultrasound probe, and the feeling of the probe on her belly.