Thursday, July 5, 2007

Stripes for the 4th!



After eagerly being anticipated for weeks, we were pleased when our female Malayan tapir, Kelang, gave birth to a healthy calf on July 3 at around 7:20 p.m. The 26-pound, female Malayan tapir calf marks the fourth birth for the 12-year-old parents. Striped and looking not unlike a four-legged watermelon, Malaysian tapirs only number somewhere between 900-3,000 in the wild.

The calf will be off-view for awhile while the mother bonds with her, but a "tapir cam" is at the exhibit where zoo visitors can see them inside their indoor barn.
Tapir gestation is approximately 13 months and an average birth weight is 22 pounds. A newborn tapir has a reddish-brown coat dappled with white and cream-colored spots and stripes. The unique coat pattern helps provide excellent camouflage in bamboo or reed jungles. The striped pattern begins fading after a few months and adult coloration appears by 5-8 months old.

Tapirs are among the most primitive large mammals in the world, changing little in appearance in the past 15 million years. At first glance this prehistoric-looking animal looks like a massive pig with a long snout. However, its closest relatives are the horse and rhinoceros. The average weight for adult Malayan tapirs is 750 pounds, although they can weigh up to 900 pounds. The front half of an adult’s body and its hind legs are black and the rear half above the legs is white.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats! I'm so happy to hear of the new addition! =)

    ReplyDelete