An extremely rare Malayan tapir calf was born at Chester Zoo, heralding what the zoo called “an significant occasion” for conservation efforts since it may imply increasing their breeding programme.
The Chester Zoo, one of only two places in the country where tapirs, a species related to horses and rhinoceroses, are housed, welcomed a female calf on Wednesday. The zoo workers gave the youngster the name Nessa.
Nessa’s distinctive coat, which features spots and stripes to help her blend in with the forest floor, will gradually alter over the course of the next six months to resemble her mother Margery’s black and white pattern.
Nessa is self-assured, eager to explore, and a wonderful bundle of energy, according to Rosie Owen, a zookeeper at the Chester Zoo.
EXCITING NEWS: We’ve welcomed the birth of a rare Malayan tapir, named Nessa! ✨
Fewer than 2,500 Malayan tapir remain in the wild due to mass habitat loss, leaving the species endangered, but we're fighting to preserve their forest home in South East Asia. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/D8i451z0pH
— Chester Zoo (@chesterzoo) December 9, 2022
She remarked that it was nice to hear the Malayan tapir’s tiny, spotted and striped feet once more. Given that these animals are exceptionally special, a highly endangered species, and only cared for by a very tiny number of zoos in the entirety of Britain, it is safe to assume that Nessa’s arrival has brought enormous joy to the faces of the entire zoo crew.
The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), sometimes referred to as the Asian Tapir, is the only Old World Tapir and the largest of the four Tapir species. The tropical rainforests of Burma, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Thailand are home to them. To create a prehensile proboscis, which they utilise to grasp leaves, their noses and top lips are stretched. Tapirs typically range in length from 1.8 to 2.5m (6 to 8 feet) and have shoulders that are between 0.9 and 1.1m high (3 to 3.5 feet). Before giving birth to a single calf, females must go through a lengthy 13-month gestation period.
The IUCN Red List categorises the Malayan Tapir as “Endangered,” and it is becoming more and more in danger as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation, rising hunting pressure, and a continued reduction in population size. The conversion of Tapir habitat into palm oil plantations is believed to be the main cause of the population’s projected 50% loss during the last three generations (36 years).
The European endangered species breeding programme is trying to preserve a safety net population of the threatened Malayan tapirs in conservation zoos like Chester zoo, preserving them from extinction, according to Mike Jordan, the director for animals and plants at Chester zoo. A very important newcomer is Margery’s precious calf. It will enrich the programme with new, valuable genetics.
Last month, Leonardo DiCaprio praised Chester Zoo for helping to save a fish species that was in danger of extinction. The golden skiffia was successfully bred at the zoo and then released into a Mexican river as a result of the breeding program’s success. According to The Guardian, the Hollywood celebrity wrote about this in an Instagram post.