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The Kid Should See This

Pacha, an adorable baby Baird’s Tapir

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What are tapirs? How does protecting tapirs help their rainforests thrive? And how does captive breeding in zoos help these endangered animals in the wild?

In this episode of First Chance to See from BBC Earth Kids, host Jaida Elcock introduces Pacha, a days-old tapir.

“Much of the rainforest where Baird’s tapirs live in Central America have been lost and they’ve been over hunted for their meat. But thanks to the hard work and dedication of conservationists here at the Audubon Nature Institute near New Orleans in the USA, we are getting our first glimpse at this little ray of hope.”

baby tapir at the Audubon Zoo
Elcock talks with the Audubon Zoo’s Bob Lessnau to learn about roll in their rainforest habitats and why they’re called an umbrella species, the challenges they face as endangered animals in the wild, and how the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ species survival plans (SSPs) are helping these important animals reproduce in their care. More from Elcock:

“There are four species of tapirs currently on planet earth. Three live in the Americas and one lives in Asia. And unfortunately they are all under threat.”

baby tapir with mom

“Tapirs may not be the first jungle animal you think of, but they’re an important part of their ecosystems foraging for leaves, fruits and berries and spreading the tree’s seeds in their droppings as they go. What you can’t quite tell is just how big they can grow, similar in size to a domesticated pig, but they’re actually more closely related to rhinos and horses…

“And no one’s mentioned that crazy nose. Well, just like elephants, tapirs use that nose to grab food, but elephants and tapirs evolved that nose entirely separately. Convergent evolution at its finest, my friends. There’s one to impress your friends with.”

prehensile snout
Pacha, who was born in 2021, moved to the San Francisco Zoo at the end of 2023.

Watch these related videos next:
β€’Β Newborn Tapir at Fota Wildlife Park
β€’Β A spotty baby Malayan tapir at the Prague Zoo
β€’Β A tapir, a bat, and a β€œgiant pickle”
β€’Β The incredible, bendable, twistable, expandable elephant trunk

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