A news site about animals

Baby Tapir Born at Palm Beach Zoo

An endangered female Baird’s Tapir was born on February 17 at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society in Florida, the zoo’s first birth of 2014. The calf was named Luna in a naming contest at nearby Palmetto Elementary School.

Jan Steele, General Curator for the Zoo, said from its birth, the calf has been in good health, and has been gaining weight at a steady rate. “At first, we monitored the calf, but gave Alyssa [the tapir mom] space to strengthen her bond with her baby.”

Zoo keepers had been studying methods to increase the likelihood that Alyssa would accept this calf, and had given her “scratch-downs” which calmed her and allowed multiple ultrasounds that showed the calf’s progress before it was born.

The calf’s weight was 40.5 pounds on March 7, when she was seventeen days old. Zoo keepers said the calf is on target to double in weight within her first three to four weeks of life, as Tapirs are expected to do.

The Tapir calf received her first neonatal exam on February 25, in which she received antibiotic and vitamin shots. She has begun exploring the Tapir habitat on exhibit at the Zoo, delighting guests with her adventures. She eats a pelleted diet along with banana and sweet potatoes. Using bananas as a reward, zoo keepers have already trained her to step on a scale to be weighed.

Baird’s Tapirs are native to Central America and northern South America, and are one of four Latin American species of Tapir. For the first week of their lives, infant Baird’s Tapirs are hidden in secluded locations while their mothers forage for food and return periodically to nurse them.

Baird’s Tapirs are in danger of extinction, and were officially classified as Vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Any Tapir birth is critical, especially because their reproductive rate is slow.

The Camel Lady

It’s been announced that on May 23, 2014, the movie Tracks will be released in the US (was shown at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.)  This film, based on the 1980 book on the same name, tells the true story of Robyn Davidson, a young Australian woman who in 1977 undertook a perilous solo trek across 1,700 miles of Australian outback with four camels and a dog.

The Camel Lady: Robyn Davidson, 1977


I can’t wait to see it. :-)










“It just seemed to me to be like something I wanted and needed to do, I had some instinctive understanding that I needed to do something like that to make an individual of myself, to forge a person out of these rather unprepossessing bits and pieces.”


It took Robyn two years in Alice Springs to prepare for the trip which proved to be an adventure in itself.  Robyn feels she’s not a courageous person, she says she just took very small steps and continued to do so until she found she had completed something.


“It was a scary place…I had to deal with some pretty heavy duty antagonism. I was an urban girl who dressed in sarongs, I was a leftie and I fetched up in this town.”


Dealing with the camels that accompanied Robyn on her journey proved to be “a lot of trial and error and dealing with a lot of mad men. I was up at five every morning, running around with a lot of camels barefooted so my feet would toughen up.”


She eventually got her own camels and the whole thing came together and off she set across the desert.


‘I didn’t plan it as a trip from A to B…the original intention was just to take these animals and disappear into the bush and wander around the desert and come out when I felt I was ready to come out.”


It ended up being a long journey from Central Australia to the West Coast, which took her almost nine months and changed her in two ways:


“You get a perspective on what is normal because you’re away from it…I’ve never lost the sense that we’re all at least half-mad. And also because you’re alone, and because you’re hyper-aware of the environment you’re in, it’s as if the self starts to melt out into the environment. You’re not this unit separated from everything else: you become a part of your environment. Of course that’s a very scary feeling at first, because it’s like disappearing.”


Happy Humpday (^_^)

Baby Otter’s First Plunge

A reluctant otter pup at the North Carolina Zoo was nudged into the water for the very first time by her mom, and zoo staffers caught the adorable dunk on video.



The baby otter, born January 15 at the North Carolina Zoo, and her mother now have the choice to stay indoors or go into the exhibit in public view.


Happy Ottersday :#)