Pets & Animals

Spotted! Dublin Zoo welcomes adorable baby tapir

Patrick Bolger / Today
This baby tapir is the Dublin Zoo's latest arrival.

Congratulations to the Dublin Zoo on their newest arrival, an adorable baby Brazilian tapir!

The male calf, who does not yet have a name, was born on July 1 to mom Rio and dad Marmaduke. The baby is their second calf; he joins his big brother MJ (Marmaduke Jr.), who was born at the Dublin Zoo in June 2012.

Patrick Bolger / Today
The baby tapir with one of his parents.

The story of the tapir's arrival at the zoo is an especially heartwarming one.

Two years ago, Rio, a young female tapir, arrived at Dublin Zoo from Marwell Wildlife in the UK to join Marmaduke, a male tapir whose long term female partner Hillary had recently died.

The keepers were hopeful the pair would connect, and sure enough, just over a year later the zoo celebrated the birth of the pair’s first born calf. Now, just 12 months later, they've expanded their brood with the new baby.

Patrick Bolger / Today
Cute alert! The calf is the second child for the zoo's tapir couple.

Tapir calves are born with a number of white spots and stripes which act as camouflage in the wild. These markings mimic the dappled sunlight on the forest floor, but will disappear by the time the calves are about six months old.

Patrick Bolger / Today
The calf joins older brother MJ.

“We are delighted with the birth of the tapir calf, he is already getting on really well with his older brother MJ who is very protective of him," zookeeper Eddie O'Brien said in a statement announcing the baby's arrival. "The calf was up and about quickly after he was born, he is already more adventurous than his older brother was at his age!”

Patrick Bolger / Today
The Dublin Zoo's tapir family.