TACOMA, Wash. - After 114 years, the first tapir calf was born at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma.
The endangered Mayalyan tapir calf, a boy, was born at 11:47 p.m. Friday.
Zoo officials said the calf appears healthy and his 5-year-old mom, Yuna, is doing well. The calf’s father is a 5-year-old named Baku.
"We're thrilled to welcome this calf into our Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium animal family," Aaron Pointer, president of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners, said in a news release. "This little one is another wonderful example of the zoo's commitment to the conservation of endangered species."
While the calf nurses and bonds with his mother he will remain in a behind-the-scenes bedroom in the Asian Forest Sanctuary area of the zoo.
Once the calf consistently follows his mother around and is able to maneuver on uneven terrain, zoo officials said they’ll both move into a habitat that is viewable by guests.
“It’s too early to say how long that will be,” zoo land animal curator Natalie Davis said.
Zoo officials said it could take some time for them to announce the calf’s name, but they expect to develop prospective names within the next few weeks that community members can vote for.
"We're excited to watch this calf bond with his mother and watch him grow," said senior staff biologist Telena Welsh, one of many zookeepers who care for the animals that live in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.
"This is a milestone event for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. We are pleased that we're able to watch over Yuna and Baku as they added one more animal to the world population of endangered Malayan tapirs."
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