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Tapir Calf Makes His Debut

A Tapir calf born on February 27 at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Brno made his media debut at the ripe old age of four days!

10865951_854118047959948_2961697233514094174_oPhoto Credit:  Zoo Brno

Known as Lowland or South American Tapirs, young calves of this species sport white stripes and spots, which offer excellent camouflage in the dappled shade of the forest.  As they grow, calves lose their spots and turn a solid grayish-brown color.

Lowland tapirs rest in the forest during the day, and emerge at night to feed on leaves, bark, and fruits.  They are good swimmers, and will enter rivers to shed skin parasites or escape predators.

Tapirs’ long, flexible snouts are their most unusual feature.  Called a proboscis, this snout is actually made up of the upper lip and nose.  The proboscis can grasp food and strip leaves from trees and small shrubs.

In their native range, which covers large portions of eastern South America, Lowland Tapirs are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Tapirs are hunted for their hides and meat.  Loss of forest habitat also contributes to their decline.