Chester Zoo Welcomes ‘Precious’ Rare Malayan Tapir Calf

A rare Malayan tapir calf was born at Chester Zoo last month, the zoo said on Thursday, December 8.

The female calf, named Nessa, was born to parents Margery and Betong on November 30 after a 13-month pregnancy. She weighed 9kg at birth.

Nessa’s birth is all the more special due to there being fewer than 2,500 Malayan tapirs in the world, the zoo said. Chester Zoo is one of just two British zoos caring for the species at the moment.

“We’re over the moon that Margery has delivered a healthy female calf – a birth that marks an important moment in our efforts to prevent the extinction of this wonderfully charismatic but sadly endangered species,” said Mike Jordan, Chester Zoo’s Director of Animal and Plants.

“The Malayan tapir is a species that’s under enormous pressure," Jordan added. “Its numbers have crashed over the course of the past four decades to frighteningly low levels, with hunting and habitat destruction being the main threats to its survival.”

Nessa was born with the distinctive coat markings seen in all baby tapirs. Her spots and stripes will slowly change over the first six months of her life to mirror the patterns of her parents’ coats. Credit: Chester Zoo via Storyful

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