2011/2/28 Category: Zoo News
Brevard Zoo welcomed a male Baird's tapir early Monday, February 21. Born to Peewee and Josie, mom and baby are doing fine. They can now be seen in their exhibit in La Selva. This is the fifth tapir born to Josie, but her last birth was in 2002. The baby is expected to go out on exhibit beginning Thursday of this week.Zoo officials are unsure why the long lapse in reproduction as Josie bore a male in 1995, 1996, and 1997 and then bore a female in 2002. Josie is 17 years old and came to Brevard Zoo from the Virginia Zoo in 1994. Dad, Peewee, is 19 years old and has also been on loan from Zoo Miami since 1994. The gestation period for a tapir is approximately 400 days or 13 months, and only one offspring is born (multiple births are extremely rare). Like all species of tapir, the babies look like brown and beige striped watermelons on legs. He currently weighs approximately 24 pounds. The Baird's tapir is the largest land mammal found in the wild from Mexico to Central America. Tapirs grow to about 6.5 feet in length and 4 feet tall. They can weigh anywhere between 525 and 900 pounds. Like other types of tapir, they have small stubby tails and long, flexible proboscises. They have four toes on each front foot and three toes on each back foot. This species can live up into their 20's, the oldest breeding female in captivity was 24 and the oldest breeding male was 22.