One night 13 months ago, keepers arrived in the morning to find male Tapir Nakal’s stall empty. He had used his flexible snout to open a door and pay a nocturnal visit to female Tapir Kamal.
The tiny calf weighed only nine pounds at birth, about 35 times less than its parents. Kamal and the calf are together 24 hours a day, and the calf appears to be nursing well. For now, Nakal lives in a separate stall to avoid possible agression with the calf. The calf is the sixth born at Zoo Antwerp.
You can see the entire birth on the surveillance camera video above. The calf emerges at about two minutes, and is standing at the four minute mark.
Young Tapirs have white blotches on their bodies, which provide camouflage in the dappled shade of the southeast Asian rain forests where they live. By the time they are six months old, the calves lose their spots and gain the solid black and white fur of adults.
Malayan Tapirs are the largest of the world’s five Tapir species. They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, primarily due to loss of habitat.
See more photos of the Tapir calf below.