Adorable baby tapir born at Chester Zoo

Zoo Welcomes Adorable Baby Tapir

A super cute Malayan tapir calf, named Solo, has taken his first steps outside at Chester Zoo.

At just over three weeks old, tiny Solo revelled in his very first outdoor adventure under the watchful eyes of his mum Margery.

See also: Baby elephant loves his first time in a paddling pool

See also: Two rare snow leopards born at Twycross Zoo

The tiny youngster, who is the first of his species to ever be born at the zoo, paraded around showing off his dark brown coat covered in white spots and stripes. Juvenile Malayan tapirs lose those patterns in the first year of their life and develop their adult coats, with one half of their bodies black and the other half white.

Adorable baby tapir born at Chester Zoo

Solo was born on 11 July, and was named after the longest river on the Indonesian island of Java.

Malayan tapirs are an endangered species and less than 2,500 are now thought to exist in the forests and rainforests of their native South East Asia, largely due to the destruction of their habitat. They are found in Malaysia, Sumatra (Indonesia), Thailand and Myanmar.

Keepers at the zoo say Solo's arrival is hugely significant as he will add valuable genetics to the European endangered species breeding programme which is working to ensure a safety net population of Malayan tapirs in zoos, ensuring they do not go extinct.

Adorable baby tapir born at Chester Zoo

The population of the species in the wild is estimated to have declined by more than 50% in the last 36 years, driven primarily by the wide-scale conversion of their habitat to palm oil plantations and agricultural land. As a result, they are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are also threatened by increased hunting for their fur, road-kills and trapping in snares left for other animals

Chester Zoo is part of a European breeding programme for the endangered species.

Adorable baby tapir born at Chester Zoo

Malayan tapirs typically give birth to one calf after an 11 to 13 months gestation period.

The animals are the largest of the world's four tapir species and related to both the horse and the rhinoceros. They are an 'odd-toed' animal, having four toes on each front foot and three toes on each back foot.

They have unusual, long flexible noses that they use to forage for food, and bad eyesight, heavily relying on sense of smell.

Baby zoo animals around the world
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Baby zoo animals around the world

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