A baby Malayan tapir will be making its debut at the Minnesota Zoo soon.
The baby, which has white stripes and spots resembling a watermelon, was born Aug. 8 to mom Bertie. He's been spending the first several weeks of his life behind the scenes at the zoo bonding with his mom and learning how to swim with help from zookeepers, a news release from the Apple Valley zoo says.
He'll make his debut in the tapir exhibit along the zoo's Tropics Trail in the "coming days," and as the young tapir continues to acclimate to his habitat, zoogoers will be able to see him more and more, the zoo says.
The baby still doesn't have a name, so the zoo is asking people to vote for their favorite between Tuah (meaning luck), Zaka (meaning honesty/intelligence), Sabtu (meaning Saturday – he was born on a Saturday) or Teruna (meaning youthful). All the names have ties to the native area of Malayan tapirs.
Vote for a name here or on the zoo's social media channels until Sunday. The winning name will be announced Monday.
Malayan tapirs, which are listed as endangered, are the largest of the four tapir species and the only one that is native to Asia, the zoo says. Wild populations of the animal have been declining due to habitat loss, which is being cleared for human settlement and palm oil plantations, among other things.
The Minnesota Zoo works to support tapir conservation through global symposiums and by participating in the Malayan tapir Species Survival Plan. This plan coordinates breeding to help maintain the tapir gene pool for the future aid of wild populations, the zoo notes.
The baby boy tapir born in August is the eighth tapir to be born at the Minnesota Zoo since 1985, the zoo says, and is Bertie's fourth calf.