20 November 2017
By Mary Bermingham
Fota Wildlife Park announce the arrival of a baby Brazilian Tapir –
and a new state of the art Tapir House
Fota Wildlife Park are asking the public for their help to name a male Brazilian Tapir calf born on the 13th September to mother Maya and father Basil. For the chance to win a year-long Conservation Membership to Fota Wildlife Park, members of the public can suggest a name for the calf on their website – www.fotawildlife.ie/blog. The young Tapir calf will join a four-strong herd including brother Thiago who is 2 ½ years old and sister is Sofia, 16 months. The Brazilian Tapir calf is distinguished from the older members of the herd in that it has a striking coat of pale spots and stripes on a reddish-brown background which helps to camouflage it in the wild. The herd have another exciting addition to their habitat in the form of a state of the art Tapir House, which has just been opened to public viewing. The species has been classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the reasons for their decline in the wild include habitat loss, illegal hunting and competition with livestock.
Aidan Rafferty, Lead Ranger said about the new arrival: “Fota Wildlife Park is delighted to announce the addition of this new male calf to the Brazilian Tapir herd. This species is also known as the South American Tapir or Lowland Tapir and their numbers have been dwindling in the wild, mostly due to habitat destruction and poaching for meat and hide, so it’s important that we have been so successful at breeding Tapirs here over the years.” He continued “The Tapirs’ habitat is currently being redeveloped and we have designed a purpose-built house featuring underfloor heating and its location at the edge of their habitat allows our visitors to look inside. The Tapirs really enjoy the heat so they tend to spend a lot of time indoors during the winter months, and the specifically designed viewing areas will give the public better insight into how the Tapirs live.”
A relative of the primitive horse and Rhinoceros, the Brazilian Tapir is one of four species of Tapir in the world. It can weigh up to 250 kg, measure two metres in length and has a long, flexible snout that helps collect food.
The name Tapir comes from the Brazilian word for ‘thick’, which is a reference to its tough skin. The Tapir inhabits the rainforests of South America; it lives near water which it uses to escape from predators such as jaguars and pumas and they are capable swimmers and divers. Brazilian Tapirs have splayed toes, four on the front feet and three on the rear feet to help them navigate through muddy ground.
If you wish to suggest a name for the new calf and be in win a chance of winning a Conservation Membership, Fota Wildlife Park are accepting suggestions via their blog – www.fotawildlife.ie/blog