Minnesota Zoo Media Contact

If you are a member of the press, please contact: Kelly Lessard
Public Relations Manager
Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN 55124
952.431.9217 direct
952.431.9300 fax
[email protected]

Zoo’s second tapir born in 22 years; exciting birth adds healthy male calf to population

Editor’s Note: The new calf is bonding with mom behind the scenes and not on exhibit at this time. For photos/video/webcam information, please contact Kelly at [email protected]

Apple Valley, MN – August 3, 2015: The Minnesota Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of an endangered Malayan tapir (“tay-purr”) calf. The yet-unnamed male was born at 5 a.m. on July 30 after a 13+month gestation period; both the calf and mom “Bertie” are doing well. This is the Minnesota Zoo’s second tapir birth in 22 years.

This calf is the 37th tapir in North America. Born at 19 pounds, he currently weighs 25 pounds and is busy bonding with mom behind the scenes.

The Malayan tapir’s gestation period varies from 390-419 days. Mothers usually give birth every 2-4 years to a single calf (twins are rare). At birth, a calf weighs approximately 10-20 pounds. 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; they reach adult size in 2-3 years.

Says Tropics Trail Supervisor Tom Ness: “We are very excited to welcome this new tapir to the Minnesota Zoo.  Malayan tapirs are endangered, and this birth is a significant conservation achievement as its estimated that fewer than 1,500 exist in the wild. This is an example of the great care the Zoo’s animal care teams provide our animals.”

Malayan tapirs are one of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia; there are less tapirs than tigers in the wild. Their population is declining due to habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes, flooding caused by dam building for hydroelectric projects, and illegal trade.

In human care, Malayan tapirs are 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 captive gene pool for the future aid of the wild population. The Minnesota Zoo currently participates in many SSP programs, including the Malayan tapir.

The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. Its mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The 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).