Keepers are pleased to welcome a new member to Tiger River! A Malayan tapir was born Sunday night (Nov. 27), and he appears to be healthy and doing well. The dam, Rose, is an experienced mother, and has been caring for her youngster off exhibit wonderfully for the past few days.
We had been anxiously awaiting the calf’s arrival, after a long 13-month gestation. Several times during her pregnancy, Rose allowed us to perform an ultrasound on her growing abdomen. We were able to see the difference in the sizes of the spinal column and beating heart as the fetus grew larger as the months passed.
Now that he is finally with us, it is amazing to watch how quickly he is growing and learning the ropes. Today for the first time, the unnamed male calf followed his mom as she shifted into another bedroom for breakfast. The two days prior, the keepers had to go in with him to help him shift. While we were in with him we weighed him- just over 18 pounds (8 kilograms) on his first day! He’ll grow very quickly, I’m sure, and soon enough he’ll be as big as his mom- 800 pounds (363 kilograms)!
Because of the chilly mornings and the steep ramp that needs to be navigated to get into the exhibit from the bedrooms, we will be keeping our young tapir behind the scenes for about a week. By then we’re hoping that he’ll be big enough and coordinated enough to be put on exhibit. I’ll let you know when he’s ready!
Bridget Mulholland is a senior mammal keeper at the San Diego Zoo’s Tiger River.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Comments are currently closed. Pinging is not allowed.