By Karrie Gillett
THE BIRTH of a rare and endangered animal is being celebrated at Edinburgh Zoo.
Quirky looking Indah – a Malayan tapir – was born just three weeks ago and is only the second of the unusual creatures to be born at the zoo.
Now the baby tapir – whose name means ‘beautiful’ in Malaysian – is being watched over by protective mum Sayang.
The curious animals are mostly found in the forests of Malaysia and Thailand and have become an endangered species because of a combination of habitat loss and hunting.
The birth of the second tapir marks a vital point in the worldwide breeding programme for the species.
Kathleen Standen, head of hoofstock at the zoo, said the birth of Indah was particularly significant for preserving the breed.
She said: “Indah’s the second birth for Sayang which we are delighted about because they are part of an endangered species breeding programme.
“The tapirs have a lot of destruction of their habitat to deal with and they are quite an elusive animal as well.
“It’s a really big success for our breeding programme as the mother and father are just five years old and this is their second calf following the birth of Vasan last year.”
The tapir – whose closest relatives are horses and rhinos – have become a hit with visitors and playful Indah is proving to be the star attraction.
Kathleen said: “A lot of people who don’t know about tapirs are unsure what they are and when they are young with these spots and stripes they are particularly attractive.
“The black and white stripes will fade and Indah will become more like her mother.
“Sayang is incredibly protective of her young calf but Indah does seem to be quite independent and she can be seen running away from her mother and giving her a little bit of a chase.”