Little ‘watermelon’ born at Chester Zoo

tapirA baby tapir has been born at Chester Zoo. The young tapir represents a watermelon.

At 11am on Monday mum Jenny’s 13 month pregnancy ended with the delivery of a male calf. The baby has already received the name Zathras.

Curator of mammals for Chester Zoo, Tim Rowlands said “Our new calf, Zathras, was up and about really quickly and he and mum are doing fine. Jenny is an experienced mum and she’s doing a top job.”

This baby is the first male born at Chester Zoo in 8 years. The zoo has had wonderful success when breeding the Brazilian or lowland tapir. Even Zathra’s dad Cuzco was born at Chester Zoo 22 years ago.

The baby is going to grow quickly said Rowlands, “At the moment Zathras looks a bit like a little humbug. His brown coat currently features lots of white stripes and spots which will eventually disappear as he gets to around six-to-nine months old. The markings act as camouflage in the wild – mimicking speckled sunlight on the forest floor. He won’t be little for long though as new youngsters tend to double their weight in the first 14-21 days alone.”

Into the future Zathras will be weaned from mum at 4 months old. He will also undergo swimming lessons as this species are very keen on swimming. One day he may even go onto have children of his own as part of the zoological breeding program for this species.

Brazilian tapirs make their homes in wet and tropical forests in South America. This species is classified as vulnerable due to hunting and the destruction of the forests where they live. There is skin is used to make sandals and local people eat their meat.tapir

Behaviour patterns of these tapirs are being studied in Brazil as part of a study which has been supported by Chester Zoo. The study is hoped to be a safeguard for the future of this species.

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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