An endangered female Baird’s Tapir born on February 17 at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is the Zoo’s first birth of 2014. The calf was named Luna in a naming contest at nearby Palmetto Elementary School.
Jan Steele, General Curator for the Zoo, said from its birth, the calf has been in good health, and has been gaining weight at a steady rate. “At first, we monitored the calf, but gave Alyssa space to strengthen her bond with her baby,” explained Steele. “Because Alyssa rejected her first calf, we wanted to make sure she allowed this second one to nurse.”
Zoo keepers had been studying methods to increase the likelihood that Alyssa would accept this calf, and had given her “scratch-downs” which calmed her and allowed multiple ultrasounds that showed the calf’s progress before it was born.
The calf’s weight was 40.5 pounds on March 7, when she was seventeen days old. Zoo keepers said the calf is on target to double in weight within her first three to four weeks of life, as Tapirs are expected to do.
See more photos and videos, and learn more about Tapirs below the fold.