(Adult tapirs Marmaduke and Rio with their new calf at Dublin Zoo on July 1 and , above, Rio with her charge)
The Irish Examiner understands the incident took place after zoo keepers agreed to allow the family to view the tapirs from a closer site than most visitors — a step that is usually closely monitored by expert workers.
However, after entering the second site it is understood one of the zoo’s two adult tapirs — a female called Rio, whose weeks-old baby was also in the location — became agitated. An attack followed, resulting in the child suffering serious injuries after being mauled by the animal.
“The male calf, born on July 1st to mum Rio and dad Marmaduke. Tapir calves are born with a number of white spots and stripes which act as camouflage in the wild. These spots and stripes mimic the dappled sunlight on the forest floor but these markings will disappear by the time the calves are about six months old.”
The little fella is still unnamed. Dublin Zoo is inviting suggestions on its Facebook page.
Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a Brazilian tapir born early on Tuesday, 5th June. The male calf, born to mum Rio, and dad Marmaduke, is the pair’s first calf together. Team leader Eddie O’Brien, said, “We are delighted with the birth of the tapir calf. Mum and calf are doing very well and we are really happy with how well Rio is doing as a first time mum. The calf was up and about quickly after he was born, he is really inquisitive!”