Tuesday 16 January 2018

Newcomer has a nose around

Edel O'Connell

WITH his long snout, big ears and awkward body, this baby tapir is not exactly the prettiest.

When even animal-loving conservationists dub you one of nature's 'ugly ducklings', you know you're on a losing streak.

Despite all that, however, this two-week-old endangered creature has been winning hearts at Dublin Zoo since he was born.

The Brazilian tapir calf was born to mum Rio and dad Marmaduke on June 5, and is the pair's first.

Tapirs are indigenous to South America but their rainforest habitat has been dramatically eroded by man-made industry, leaving them without a specific home.

The creature is one of the world's top 10 endangered animals so the birth of the calf has caused much celebration at the zoo.

Team leader Eddie O'Brien said: "We are delighted. Mum and calf are doing very well and we're really happy with how well Rio is doing as a first-time mum. The calf was up and about quickly after he was born; he is really inquisitive."

Although they might not look like the speediest of creatures, tapirs are fast and agile and they also swim well.

Last year, Rio, the female tapir arrived at Dublin Zoo from Marwell Wildlife in the UK to join Marmaduke the male.

Irish Independent

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