S'pore Night Safari welcomes first male baby tapir in almost a decade

It's a boy!

Zhangxin Zheng | August 24, 2020, 04:42 PM

The Night Safari has welcomed a new member.

An adorable Malayan Tapir calf named Bintang:

tapir calf Photo of Bintang, the Tapir calf at Night Safari, on its first day of birth. Photo courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

First male calf in almost a decade

Bintang was born on June 28, 2020, and Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) recently shared the precious moment when the Tapir mummy gave birth to it on Facebook.

In the video, Bintang's mother could initially be seen lying with a bloated tummy at one corner of its den.

It then got up and moved to a comfortable spot where it cooly gave birth to the 10kg baby.

After giving birth, the Tapir was then seen licking its baby, showing attentive care to the newborn.

You might have noticed that the young tapir looks different from the adult tapir, with its brown and white spotted and striped coat.

However, over the next few months, its mottled coat will gradually turn into the solid black and white coat of adults like his mother.

Bintang tries solid food for the first time. Photo courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

The tapir calves typically start eating solid food at around two weeks and learn to swim by the third week.

Bintang takes its first dip in the adult pool. Tapirs are water-loving creatures and adept swimmers. When pursued by predators in the wild, they will often escape and seek refuge in the nearest body of water. Photo courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Tapirs are really good swimmers, and can hold their breath for up to 90 seconds. They can also use their trunks as snorkels when they walk on riverbeds.

32nd Malayan tapir calf born in Night Safari, an endangered species in the wild

According to a junior keeper at the Night Safari, Lee Tzu Ying, the Malayan tapirs have been giving birth consistently in the safari.

That brings to the total of 32 tapir calves born in the Night Safari thus far.

Bintang is the 32nd calf and is the first male to be born in the safari in almost a decade.

Lee said that the name "Bintang" was given by a popular vote among its keepers. The word means star in Malay.

The Night Safari just welcomed a baby girl last July named "Sutera" which means silk in Malay.

Lee adds that the WRS is involved in international conservation breeding programmes with other zoological institutions and such breeding successes contribute to "ensuring genetic diversity and a sustainable population of the species under human care".

This is especially important for the Malayan tapirs as they are endangered in the wild, facing threats from habitat loss and poaching, Lee highlights.

Besides poachers, Malayan tapirs are also killed in traffic accidents.

There are currently less than 2,500 of them in the wild.

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Top image: photo courtesy of WRS, screenshots via WRS Facebook