Month-old Malayan tapir calf emerges at Denver Zoo

DENVER — The new Malayan tapir calf is starting to venture into his outdoor space at the Denver Zoo and can be seen by guests.

The tapir, named Baku (BAH-koo), was born April 29 and has kept close to his mother, but did go into the water Thursday for the first time. Baku is only the second birth of his species at the zoo. He will remain away from public viewing for now, but a live, closed-circuit video of him can be seen at the zoo.

Baku was born to Rinny, who cam to the zoo in 2010. His father Benny came to the zoo in 2007. Rinny gave birth to a calf Dumadi in September 2012.

Zoo officials say tapirs “are most closely related to horses and rhinos” but “are similar in build to pigs, but significantly larger. Malayan tapirs have a large, barrel shaped body ideal for crashing through dense forest vegetation. Their noses and upper lips are extended to form a long prehensile snout similar to a stubby version of an elephant’s trunk.”

Malayan tapirs are native to Asia and now inhabit only in the Indochinese peninsula and Sumatra. There are fewer than 2,000 individuals remaining and they are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.