The Nashville Zoo became home to a new baby tapir earlier this month, and the new young mammal is now doing well after a difficult birth.
The male baby tapir was born Jan. 12 and is the second birth of two of the zoo’s tapirs, mom Houston and her mate Romeo, who were brought to Nashville from Central America in 2008 to introduce a new genetic line for tapirs in the U.S.
After delivery, the baby’s embryonic sac did not break, keeping him from being able to breathe. Zoo staff intervened, removing the mother from the stall and freeing the baby from the embryonic sac. Once freed staff cleared his airways and performed mouth-to-nose resuscitation until he began breathing on his own.
“It was very tense for the first few minutes, but because of our preparation and training, we were able to intervene and rescue the baby,” said Lanny Brown, hoofstock supervisor at Nashville Zoo. “Mother and calf are now bonding and doing great. The baby loves being scratched and discovering how fast he can run around the barn. They will remain off exhibit until the weather warms up around March.”
According to a zoo spokesman, Tapirs are relatives of the horse and the rhino, and are the largest land animal in Central and South America.