Video: Rare baby Malayan tapir born at Edinburgh Zoo

Staff say the 10-day-old tapir is already proving a massive hit with visitors

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The Independent Online

A baby tapir has become the latest addition to Edinburgh Zoo’s growing collection of rare animals after it was born just hours before the end of 2014.

The male Malayan tapir named Mekong, after the river that runs through the area they are found, was born on the morning of the 31 December to mother Sayang and first-time father Mogli.

Sayang, who already has five other babies, carried Mekong for nearly 13 months before giving birth on New Year’s Eve.

A video was subsequently released capturing the first moments of bonding between mother and son. Lorna Hughes, leader of the Hoofstock Team at Edinburgh Zoo said: "Sayang is a great mum with lots of experience as she has had five babies now and really knows the ropes.

“Tapirs are pregnant for around 13 months so it is great to finally see another healthy calf being born. However, although we are very pleased with his progress and he is putting on weight steadily, the first week or so is a sensitive time for mother and baby.”

Mekong was the last arrival of the year at the zoo and according to staff, the animal has already proved a massive hit with visitors.

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Malayan tapirs are the only species of tapir native to Asia and can be found throughout south-east Asia in countries such as Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

In recent times however, increased hunting and wide-scale deforestation has led to the number of Malayan tapirs in the wild shrinking to just 2,000 and the species being placed on the IUCN Red List as endangered.