Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Baby tapir wins hearts at zoo

Zathra is the first male tapir to be born at Chester Zoo for eight years (Chester Zoo/PA)

A tiny tapir calf is turning Chester Zoo when he because the first male of the species born there for eight years.

Zathras was born to mum Jenny at 11am last Monday after a gestation period of about 13 months.

The Zoo's curator of mammals, Tim Rowlands, said: " Our new calf, Zathras, was up and about really quickly. Jenny is an experienced mum and she's doing a top job.

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."

Chester Zoo, which was named as the best zoo in the UK in a recent Trip Advisor poll, has enjoyed good breeding successes with tapirs in the past - including the birth of Zathras's 22-year-old dad Cuzco.

In the wild Brazilian, or lowland, tapirs live in wet forests and grasslands in South America where they are threatened because of habitat destruction and hunting. They are classed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

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