The Houston Zoo has just welcomed its latest addition: a new female Baird’s tapir. The newborn tapir still doesn’t have a name, but she already bears the distinction of being only the second Baird’s tapir ever born at the Houston zoo. If you haven’t been to the zoo in a while, now’s your chance to come see one of the more curious members of the mammal class.
Tapirs are mammals known to inhabit the jungles of South America and Southeast Asia. The tapir looks almost like a mix between a pig and a donkey and features a long, curved proboscis instead of a nose. The Baird’s tapir is the largest land mammal in Central America but is today considered a threatened species due to habitat loss and hunting.
The Houston Zoo’s tapir exhibit includes the first Baird’s tapir born at the Houston zoo, Antonio, as well as mother Moli and father Noah. The newborn girl already weighs 22 pounds and is expected to reach over 500 pounds when she’s full grown. This bouncing baby girl doesn’t yet have a name, but zookeepers taking care of her will soon get to know her enough to choose the perfect name.
The Houston Zoo’s tapirs are part of an ambassadorship program for wild tapirs in South America. The zoo’s tapirs provide health data that support programs to protect adult and baby tapirs in the wild.
In 2020, the Houston Zoo will unveil their second major new exhibit: South America’s Pantanal. This exhibit will explore Brazil’s tropical wetlands, home to many diverse species including monkeys, jaguar, giant river otters, capybaras, scores of bird species, and of course tapirs.
The Houston Zoo is located at 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030. For more information visit www.HoustonZoo.org or call 713-533-6500.