Minnesota Zoo Welcomes First Tapir Calf in More Than 20 Years
Long-awaited birth adds healthy female calf to endangered population
Apple Valley, MINN – July 23, 2013 – The Minnesota Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a Malayan tapir (Tay-purr) calf, the first born at the Zoo in more than 20 years. The newborn female tapir was born at approximately 9:15 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, 2013, after a 419-day gestation period. The mother, named Bertie, and her calf are doing fine. The calf is currently off exhibit with its mother, but can be seen via a special webcam at
http://www.mnzoo.org/animals/animals_liveCam_tapir.asp. Caution: she is incredibly cute!
The Malayan tapir's gestation period varies from 390-410 days. Mothers give birth to a single calf (twins are rare). At birth, a calf weighs approximately 10-20 pounds. A female normally births a calf every 2-4 years. For the first 6-8 months of their life, tapir calves resemble furry watermelons with legs. They are dark brown to black with alternating bands of yellowish-white stripes and spots. Young tapirs grow quickly and can weigh as much as 450 pounds at one year of age and reach adult size in about 2-3 years.
“This birth is a great way to celebrate National Zookeeper Week and the dedication the staff have for these animals,” says Tom Ness, Tropics Trail supervisor. “Malayan Tapirs are an endangered species and every birth is important to the population.”
The Malayan tapir is one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia. Tapir populations are declining due to habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes, flooding caused by dam building for hydroelectric projects, and illegal trade.
In human care, the Malayan tapir is managed for breeding purposes by a Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which, through the coordinated efforts of several zoos throughout the United States, helps maintain the gene pool for the future aid of the wild population. The Minnesota Zoo currently participates in 60 SSP programs, including the Malayan tapir SSP. The Zoo had 4 prior Malayan tapir births, the last one occurring in 1991.
The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For
more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an
accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an
institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).