News

We are delighted to announce the birth of a rare Brazilian Tapir.

Head Keeper, Imogen White said: “We are so happy. Ennis the mother hasn’t had the easiest time trying to be a mum.  She has had three failed pregnancies due to differing factors. With a gestation of 13 months, it is a long time to wait to try again. We are so delighted for Ennis who will be ten years old in August and the father Lutador, who is ten years old.”

Ennis gave birth at 9.30am on Monday 16th May to a healthy boy and this time it has all worked out wonderfully. She had no issues during the birth and the young was feeding within four hours.

Imogen said: “We had everything prepared for her.  A warm room with lots of extra bedding, separated from Lutador, just to give her the space she needed, and we were also ready to step if needed with assisting to help the young to feed.”

She added: “The keepers and myself have been through the losses that Ennis has suffered over the years and have been heartbroken, so to say that we are over the moon with this successful birth feels like an understatement. We are all so proud of Ennis, we all knew she could be a good mum and she is now getting to prove how excellent she is at the job, so attentive and protective.”

Facts about Tapir Births

After a 13-month gestation period, a single tapir baby (twins are rare), called a calf, is born while the mother stands. The calf’s eyes are open, and it can stand one or two hours after birth.

Even though there are differences in habitat and geography, all tapir calves look like brown- and beige-striped watermelons on legs. This colour pattern is great camouflage for the youngsters in the dappled sunlight of the forest, especially when the calf lies down on the ground while Mom forages. The calf begins to lose these markings after a few months, and when the youngster is about six months old, it looks like a miniature adult.

Baby tapirs are “hiders” when they are young, and their stripes and spots are excellent camouflage in the dappled light of the forest.

Tapir calves can swim at a very young age. Young tapirs nurse as long as the mother provides milk or until her next calf is born. For many years it was believed that tapirs lived solitary lives, except for mothers raising young or a male and female that come together during breeding season. Recently, scientists have discovered that tapirs often graze in pairs or small groups, traveling over larger ranges than previously thought.

Calves reach full size in about 18 months but are considered mature at 2 to 4 years.

Lowland Tapir also known as Brazilian Tapir are classed as being vulnerable in the wild according to the IUCN red list.