ZooTampa celebrated the arrival of an endangered baby Malayan tapir calf. Less than 2,500 remain in the wild. It also celebrated the birth of a precious 10 lb. endangered pygmy hippopotamus as part of its Species Survival Plan.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park is celebrating the arrival of two new babies as part of its ongoing commitment to the conservation of endangered species: a Malayan tapir (pronounced TEY-per) calf and a pygmy hippopotamus. 

The yet-unnamed tapir calf was born during the overnight hours between March 26 and 27 after an approximately 13-month gestation period; both the calf and mom are doing well and are healthy and thriving.

The baby calf, with a distinctive coat featuring both spots and stripes, is busy bonding and nursing alongside experienced mother, 18-year-old Ubi. The calf’s patterning will slowly change over the first six months of life to mirror the unique black-and-white pattern of its parents, Ubi and Albert.
Ubi was paired with 13-year-old male Albert as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, ensuring the survival of protected, threatened and endangered species. ZooTampa currently participates in more than 100 SSP programs.

“The birth of this healthy calf is another wonderful example of the zoo’s commitment to the conservation of endangered species,” said Chris Massaro, senior vice president of zoological operations. “Malayan tapirs are endangered, and any addition is a significant conservation achievement. Our goal is that when guests see these amazing animals that they will connect with them in ways that inspire action to save the world’s endangered wildlife.”

Only an estimated 2,500 Malayan tapirs remain scattered in Thailand, Malaysia and on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Their population is declining due to habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural purposes, flooding caused by dam building for hydroelectric projects and illegal trade. 

An approximately 10-pound pygmy hippopotamus was born in the evening hours of Sunday, March 31 as well. The yet-unnamed female calf and 20-year-old Zsa Zsa, an experienced mother, are doing well. The baby hippo appears to be strong and is nursing alongside her mother. The birth marks the fifth endangered pygmy hippo calf born at the zoo.

Zsa Zsa was paired with 22-year-old male and first-time dad Howie as part of the Species Survival Plan.

Fewer than 3,000 pygmy hippos are left in the wild in four countries of West Africa. Over the past 100 years, their habitat has declined dramatically as a result of logging, farming, mining and human settlement.

ZooTampa is located at 1101 W. Sligh Ave. in Tampa. For more information, visit https://zootampa.org/.

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