Rare tapir born at Boston zoo

Dec. 15, 2009 at 10:43 AM
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BOSTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Boston's Franklin Park Zoo has announced the birth of a rare Baird's tapir -- the largest land animal native to Latin America.

The female tapir named Tupelo, because caretakers say she's as sweet as the honey, was born Dec. 5, weighing 21 pounds, zoo head John Linehan said Monday in announcing the birth.

Tupelo's mother, Abby, age 5, weighs about 700 pounds, while her father, Milton, age 20, weighs about 400 pounds, Linehan said, adding the gestation period for a Baird's tapir is about 13 months.

"They just don't produce a lot of babies. So when you get one, it's a very exciting event," Linehan told The Boston Globe in a story published Tuesday.

There are about 34 tapirs in captivity in North America and only about 12 are females, Linehan said, noting tapirs have become endangered because of habitat destruction and hunting.

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