Do you know what that animal is? If you do, pat yourself on the back. That's a baby Malayan tapir that was born at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in England. If you ever want to have a good time, stand in front of a tapir exhibit at the zoo and watch people try to guess what it is. (For some reason zoo visitors never read the signs.) The tapir has been described as looking "like the result of a night of passion involving a pig and an anteater," but it's not closely related to either. Prehistoric tapirs ranged all over Europe, Asia, and the Americas, but the only species left are this one in Asia and four in South America. Their closest living relative isn't any of the things you'll hear those zoo visitors guess - it's actually the rhinoceros.
The Malayan tapir is extremely threatened by habitat destruction, so any captive births are good news. Aside from the baby, the coverage of this birth included some truly excellent photos of the mom. We've posted some pretty darn good tapir snouts on this blog before, but I don't think I've ever seen such a good shot of it actually in use:
And check out that first link to Port Lympne for an adorable video clip of the baby whistling and wiggling its snout.
-Wombat (No Relation)
Nov 28, 2011
Posted by wombat at Monday, November 28, 2011