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Tapir calf

Cute as a watermelon

And helping his species.

Kazu, our endangered Malayan tapir calf, was born July 12 to mom Yuna and dad Baku, and he’s thriving. Looking like a spotty, black-and-white watermelon, he’s not just adorable – he’s a sign of hope for an endangered species.

Kazu and Yuna will be viewable in the Asian Forest Sanctuary late morning-early afternoon on weekends, depending on the weather.

UPDATE: Kazu is changing colors! Scroll to read more.

Curious calf

Born mobile
but needing Mom.
The first tapir calf born in the zoo's 114-year history, Kazu spent his first few weeks behind the scenes at the Asian Forest Sanctuary. Mobile but nursing a lot, he just wanted to hang out with mom. Gradually he grew more independent, even exploring a small pool. He loves back scratches.
Newborn tapir
Wellness exams
and lots of care.
Monitored constantly by keepers, Kazu was given his first wellness exam by our vet team at four days old. Given lots of loving care by Yuna and his keepers, our calf thrived, growing from 20 to 70 ponds in around 5 weeks! See him at various times on weekends.
First exam
Changing colors
and growing up.
Kazu's starting to change color, from his baby watermelon spots and stripes to the adult gray-and-white. He's also getting more independent and exploratory, though he still loves to cuddle mom.
Malayan tapirs
Stripy, solitary
Around 6-8 feet long and 3 feet high, tapirs live in thick rainforests in South East Asia. Often solitary, they are herbivores, eating leaves and fruits and foraging with their long nose. They're good climbers, runners and swimmers, and can even use their nose as a snorkel!
More about tapirs

Tapir Timeline

Birth to 6 weeks
Mobile and curious.
Tapir calves are born with eyes open, and can stand and walk soon after birth.
They are brown with white spots and stripes to camouflage them in forest shade.
6 to 12 weeks
Growing stronger.
Calves nurse a lot, but begin exploring adult food at around 6 weeks.
They stick close by their mother, growing strong and learning to swim.
3-6 months
More independent.
Calves wean at around 4-6 months.
They also begin to lose their baby markings.
7-18 months
Becoming an adult.
Tapirs reach full size at 18 months.
They are mature at 2-4 years.

Save tapirs

Protect the rainforest.

THE PROBLEM: Tapirs are endangered, with only around 2,500 remaining in Thailand, Malaysia and Sumatra. A big problem is deforestation of their rainforest habitat.

HOW TO HELP: Our calf was born as part of the tapir Species Survival Program for accredited zoos. You can help tapirs by protecting their rainforest – find out how.

Jungle Stories

Making Baby Animal Zoolights

It’s a problem, just how many spots Kazu the tapir calf has. Not for him, of course – the spots are excellent camouflage. But for Dennis Parkhurst and Mason Patzer, carpenters at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the baby tapir’s watermelon-spotted coat presented a challenge: How to illuminate all those spots in a Zoolights display? … Continued

Read More
Meet Kazu the tapir calf!

UPDATE: Kazu made his public debut Aug. 30. He and Yuna are now viewable in the Asian Forest Sanctuary late morning-early afternoon on weekends. Trotting over green grass. Figuring out stairs. Swimming. A brand-new, exciting world for Kazu the tapir calf is in store this weekend at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, as the seven-week-old … Continued

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Name our tapir calf!

He’s thriving, growing and exploring the pool: The endangered Malayan tapir calf born July 12 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is nearly ready to meet his adoring fans. But before he does, he needs a name. Members of the public were invited to vote on one of five names chosen by keepers in the … Continued

Read More
Love our baby tapir?
Help support endangered species by adopting an animal through The Zoo Society. You'll get a tapir plush, photo, certificate of adoption and tapir fact sheet - and your donation will support wildlife conservation.