New Malayan Tapir Calf at Antwerp Zoo
October 13, 2016
A Malayan Tapir was born at Antwerp Zoo on October 7th!
This is the second baby for mom, Nakal. After thirteen months of pregnancy, the birth went very quickly and smoothly. The young calf is doing well and has been running around a lot. This is the seventh young Tapir for Antwerp, and with a little luck, patrons can catch a glimpse of the newest member.
At birth, the brand new baby weighed about 9 kg (35 times less than his parents). Mother and baby have been spending lots of bonding time in the safety of their nesting house with a large window. Wherever mom goes, her little one is not far behind. The young calf’s father is the late Kamal. According to Antwerp Zoo, Kamal died unexpectedly two months ago.
The little ones sex is still unknown; but once it is revealed, keepers are planning to compile a list of their top three choices for a name and allow fans to vote via the Zoo’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/zooantwerpen
The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), also known as the Asian Tapir, is the largest of four Tapir species and is the only Old World Tapir. They are native to the rainforests of Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra and Thailand. Their noses and upper lips are extended to form a prehensile proboscis, which they use to grab leaves. Tapirs normally measure 1.8 to 2.5m (6 to 8 feet) in length, with a shoulder height of 0.9 to 1.1m. (3 to 3.5 feet).
The animals are related to both the Horse and the Rhinoceros. They are an ‘odd-toed’ animal, having four toes on each front foot and three toes on each back foot.
Malayan Tapirs also have poor eyesight, which makes them rely heavily on their excellent senses of smell and hearing.
They are also known for their unusual courtship ritual, which involves an assortment of wheezing and whistling sounds. They will sniff each other, walking around in circles before mating. Females have a long gestation period of 13 months before giving birth to a single calf.
Listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, the Malayan Tapir is increasingly threatened, with population numbers continuing to decline as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as increasing hunting pressure. The population has been estimated to have declined by more than 50% in the last three generations (36 years) primarily as a result of Tapir habitat being converted into palm oil plantations. They are also threatened by increased hunting for their fur, road-kills and trapping in snares left for other animals.