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The Henry Doorly Zoo's newest resident might look like ALF, but he's not an alien. This little Malayan Tapir calf was born December 6th and is just now on display with his mother, Knobbie, in the Asian Rainforest exhibit.

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In their native jungles of Southeast Asia, tapirs use their long snouts to reach tasty leaves that would otherwise be just out of reach. The birth of this little guy is particular exciting because the species is endangered in the wild and the breeding program population in North America is small.

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Tapir Calf Now on Display at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo

Omaha, NE (February 24, 2010) –

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo® welcomes a male Malayan tapir calf, now on display in the Lied Jungle®. A press conference with Christie Eddie, Curator of Small Mammals, will be today, Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. Please enter through Guest Services.

The calf is on display with his mother, Knobbie, in the Asian Rainforest of the Lied Jungle. The calf, named JonHi, was born on December 6, 2009. Tapir calves are born brown and white and have a watermelon pattern. By six months of age, JonHi will look like a miniature adult. 

Adult tapirs are black and while in color which acts as camouflage by breaking up the tapir’s outline in the forest. Their nose and upper lip are combined to a long snout which they use to reach and pull leaves into their mouth. Tapirs have four toes on their front and three toes on their back. They prefer to live in wooded or grassy areas with a water source nearby for swimming. Their diet at Omaha’s Zoo consists of grain, apples, carrots, bananas, lettuce and browse. Tapirs can live for up to 30 years. They are primarily but not exclusively nocturnal animals.

Malayan tapirs originate from Southern Burma, Malay Peninsula, Southeast Thailand and Sumatra. They are one of four tapir species in existence and are the only Asian species. 

Malayan tapirs are listed as Endangered with a decreasing population trend on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Malayan tapir is being managed in captivity by a Species Survival Plan (SSP). The birth of the male Malayan tapir is important because the population is small with only 19 males and 22 females in the breeding program.