Chester Zoo’s little watermelon is growing fast


Chester Zoo has welcomed a female Brazilian tapir into their family on Saturday December 5th. Super mum Jenny who has raised a number of calves in her 23 years on earth has been doing a great job of raising the young female.

Curator of mammals at Chester Zoo, Tim Rowlands said, “She already has bundles of energy and is quite demanding on mum in particular, but Jenny is very experienced and knows exactly what to do.”


Currently the calf looks more like a watermelon than an adult tapir with her patterned coat set to fade away over the next year as she grows, “With her brown coat currently covered in white stripes and spots, our new tapir calf resembles a little humbug on legs at the moment. Lowland tapirs lose this patterning over time but, for a newborn, it’s a great form of camouflage as predators will often mistake young calves for specks of sunlight on the forest floor,” explained Rowlands.

The little calf sure will be growing with her weight expected to double in the next two to three weeks alone.


Chester Zoo’s breeding program for this species aims to protect this species from hunting which for meat and leather along with severe deforestation. This has led to a 30% decline in their population over the past 30 years leading to a vulnerable listing on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list.

They also support a project in Brazil which is mapping the movement of tapirs and their behaviour patterns. You can find out more about that here – Tapirs | Chester Zoo.

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

By Cale Russell is a testament to Cale’s commitment to the education of people around the world on the topic of animals and conservation, through the sharing of topical and newsworthy information.

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