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Zoo’s second tapir born in 22 years; becomes 37th tapir in North America
Editor’s Note: The calf will be on exhibit from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, August 12. On the days following, he will be on exhibit from 9-10 a.m. daily, with time increasing as he gets older.
Apple Valley, MN – August 3, 2015: The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce that its endangered Malayan tapir (“tay-purr”) calf, born July 30, will make his public debut on Wednesday, August 12 from 9:30 –10:30 a.m. This is the Minnesota Zoo’s second tapir birth in 22 years.
The calf, yet unnamed, is the 37th tapir in North America. Born at 19 pounds after a 13+month gestation, he currently weighs over 30 pounds and has been busy bonding with mom “Bertie” 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.
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).