Marjorie the baby Malayan Tapir was recently born in Belfast Zoo, from parents Gladys and Elmer. images credit: Belfast Zoo
Zoo Curator Andrew Hope said, “Malayan tapirs are a beautiful but slightly unusual looking species. They are related to horses and rhinoceroses. The adults have a distinctive coat pattern and are black on the front and white on the back. However, when the calves are born they have beige spotted and striped markings, which make them look incredibly like ‘watermelons on legs’. Marjorie will begin to lose her markings after a few months. When she is six months old, she will look like a miniature adult!”
The Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), also called the Asian Tapir, is the largest of the four species of tapir and the only one native to Asia. The scientific name refers to the East Indies, the species’ natural habitat. In the Malay language, the tapir is commonly referred to as “cipan”, “tenuk” or “badak tampong”.