Tapir Birth at Paradise Wildlife Park,
Paradise Wildlife Park is extremely proud to
announce the birth of a healthy female Brazilian Tapir (Tapirus
terrestris) calf: Tuesday
30th January 2007 at approximately 8pm.
This delightfully cute new addition to Paradise Wildlife Park
is extra special because she is the first healthy offspring
for our Tapirs, Gaby & Temuko, who are both 7 years old and
have previously suffered 3 unsuccessful pregnancies. This was mainly
due, we believe, to stress, as Tapirs are extremely sensitive to
changes in their environment so this time around we were watching
events very carefully. Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) are
listed on the definitive IUCN Red List of endangered
species as ‘Vulnerable’.
This is mainly due to loss of natural habitat and illegal hunting.
As part of the parks European Endangered species (EEP)
Breeding Programme this birth helps secure the future
of these vulnerable animals.
Tapirs are pregnant for an amazing 390 - 400 days and usually stay
with the same partner for life, which in captivity can span a lifetime
of 25 years. As nocturnal mammals, they are known to hide their
young in the undergrowth away from predators during the day returning
in the evening to feed them. This caused keeper Yianna Christopoulos
to have concerns about whether Gaby was feeding her newborn calf
so a camera was placed in the stable to keep an eye on things.
It turned out that Yianna's fears were unfounded when she was lucky
enough to witness the calf being fed on the third day. Yianna has
a close bond with Gaby and can often be found 'calf-sitting' while
Mum goes for a dip in the pool. Tapirs are most closely related
to the Horse and Rhinoceros families as odd-toed ungulates and
live by pools spending much of their time in the water. This can
sometimes get them out of trouble; as the natural prey of Jaguars,
they can submerge themselves under water using their long snout
as a snorkel until danger passes.
The calf was born with the distinctive brown colouring with white
stripes and spots, which all tapir species calves are born with,
this helps to camouflage them in the wild; these markings gradually
disappear at between 6 to 12 months.
Lynn Whitnall (Director of the Animal Park) has said “The
success of this pregnancy and the healthy birth is due entirely
to the hard work and 24 hour commitment of Yianna who has proved
exceptional in her dedication to the animals in her care. We are
very lucky to have such a dedicated Animal Park Team, who all supported
her throughout the very demanding first few days.”
Thanks to Yianna Christopoulos who submitted this content.
Photos of tapirs only © Carol Wiseman, 2007
Photo of keeper Yianna with tapir
calf © Mike Poultney, 2007