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Cute, or what? Baby tapir born at Antwerp Zoo

14:39 21/12/2021

Antwerp Zoo has announced the arrival of a baby Malayan tapir. Mother Nakal gave birth to the baby earlier this month, and visitors can see him scampering around when they visit the zoo.

Following a 13-month pregnancy, Nakal gave birth to the baby, her fourth but the first male. The pregnancy and delivery went smoothly. The baby’s father is called Baku, and this is his second calf.

“We saw via the cameras that the baby came out in 10 minutes’ time,” says Sarah Verpoorten, one of the zookeepers involved in the care of tapirs. “Nakal is an experienced mother and licked him dry immediately. We could see right away that it was a male – you couldn’t miss it, really. We are so proud and happy.”

Visitors to the tapir habitat will see right away that the baby doesn’t look like his parents. Baby tapirs have white stripe patterns across their bodies, which they lose as they get older. In the wild, this pattern protects them as they hide under vegetation, looking like sun-dappled earth.

Antwerp Zoo names babies after their native country or region. This baby’s name will be either Wayan (traditionally given to a first son) or Willy (which means a very strong will). The public is invited to vote for their favourite name on the zoo’s Instagram page.

As the name suggests, the Malayan tapir – the largest tapir species – is native to southeast Asia. It is an endangered species, with only 2,500 adults left in the wild.

Photo ©Jonas Verhulst


Written by Lisa Bradshaw