Watched live worldwide baby animal being born at Noah's Ark near Nailsea

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By Carol_Deacon | Friday, February 01, 2013, 15:29

One isn't born every minute and the arrival of a baby tapir Noah's Ark zoo farm near Nailsea has caused excitement worldwide.

Webcam viewers from as far away as Canada watched the live birth of the Lowland tapir.

The humbug-striped female was born on December 28.It was a late Christmas present for the dedicated keepers.

News of the zoos successful tapir birth spread quickly thanks to its loyal internet following and resulted in a stream of Facebook messages and emails sending congratulations and requests for news and photos.

One Canadian family even phoned to book a special keeper work experience placement for their son after a previous visit to the UK when he fell in love with the tapirs at the zoo farm.

Tapirs in the wild are on The International Union for Conservation of Nature red list with a 'vulnerable' classification.

Named Tallulah the new arrival is the result of a successful captive breeding programme and was born after a 400-day gestation. 

She is the second foal for mum Tara and dad Toby, with brother Troy now living at Heads of Ayr Farm Park in Scotland.

There are four species of tapir, three of which live in Central and South America, and the fourth – the black and white Malayan Tapir – in Southeast Asia. 

Despite their size – depending on species, a tapir can weigh up to 350kg. 

Tapirs are relatively unknown by the public, and are often confused with pigs, anteaters, armadillos or even bears. 

However, tapirs are most closely related to horses and rhinoceroses. 

They are strong swimmers, can climb steep slopes agilely and eat a fruit and veg based diet, foraging with their long noses amongst leaf litter and foliage in their natural habitats.

Several threats to the species are apparent, including serious habitat destruction from human deforestation and previously hunting for tapir hide and meat.Keeper Kelli Inglis works with the family of tapirs in the zoos South American section.

She said: "We're all thrilled to have little Tallulah join the family and pleased to say she's doing very well and seems to be enjoying getting to know her new surroundings.

"We get lots of comments from viewers of the webcam with many tapir fans going on to book a keeper experience here at the zoo to meet them face-to-face which is great fun.

"The 24 hour webcam is also useful for keepers as its helped us gain a better understanding of the breeding habits and daily condition of an animal that is becoming increasingly rare in the wild."  

Noah's Ark zoo farm reopens for visitors on Saturday, February 2, following a short winter break.

The zoo farm at Wrxall is open 10.30am-5pm Monday to Saturday.

The zoo is set for its busiest year with the opening of a much-anticipated 20 acre elephant exhibit later this summer called Elephant Eden which is expected to draw visitors from across the South West.

To see the tapir family visitors live click HERE.

Noah's Ark which was begun in 1999 by farmer Anthony Bush and his artist wife Christina attracts 140,000 visitor a year.

Animals include giraffes, white rhinos, tigers, lions and 80 other types. 

For tickets prices and further details click HERE.

As well as the Woo At The Zoo Two By Two event on Thursday, February 14, Noah's Ark has an exciting programme planned for 2013 – here are some of the dates for your diary:

Jungle Tots: Every Monday during term time

  •  At the Jungle Den soft play area from 10.30am-noon. Come along to Noah's Ark parent and toddler group with focus on free play, a craft activity and meeting a Noah's Ark animal each week. Free to season ticket holder or £10 for one adult and up to two children. Small charge applies for additional children and adults. Jungle Tots spring term starts on Monday, February 4 with a welcome back party serving free coffee and cake for parents. 
 Mother's Day: Saturday, March 9

  • Treat you mother, grandmother or step-mother to a special day out at Noah's Ark for £5 admission price. Download the voucher from the events page on the website. Valid on Saturday March 9 only. 

Noah's Easter Egg Hunt: Saturday and Monday, March 30-April 1

  • Hunt through the Easter trail and discover a chocolaty and sweet surprise! Adults and children can take part in the novelty egg and spoon race and get creative making some fun Easter crafts. 

Endangered Species Day: Saturday, May 18 

  • Learn about the endangered species at Noah's Ark including Bengal tigers, white rhinos, tapirs, black and white ruffed lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, cotton-topped tamarins and siamang gibbons. 

VIP Animal Encounters: Monday to Friday, May 27-June 1

  • For one week only at half term a special animal encounter. Enjoy a 15 minute animal encounter with either an owl, giraffe, tapir, big cat or a meerkat. Tasks involve meeting, feeding and interacting with these animals within a group no more than three. Extra charge and encounter times apply, first come basis on the day. 

Wildlife Day: Saturday, June 8

  • Get involved in pond dipping at the behind the scenes nature reserve. Learn about the local wildlife that live in the Noah's Ark grounds and see how you can get involved in local conservation projects or learn how to help the wildlife in your own back garden.

Father's Day: Saturday, June 15

  • Bring your father, grandfather or stepfather to Noah's Ark for the day for £5 admission. Download the voucher from the events page on the website. Valid on Saturday, June 15 only. 

Elephant Awareness Day: Saturday, August 3

  • Learn about these amazing gentle giants, watch the keepers give them enrichment activities to enjoy and discover how to help elephants in the wild. 

International Vulture Awareness Day: Saturday, September 7

  • Enjoy a special keeper talk about the two vulture species living at Noah's Ark, discover interesting facts about their habitat and learn all about the importance of vultures in the wild. 

Pumpkin Fun: Thursday, October 31

  • Enjoy a fun pumpkin themed day with prizes going to the funniest carved pumpkin competition and see how the animals react with pumpkin made treats

Christmas Nativity Plays: Saturdays, December 7 and 14

  • Celebrate the festive season this year by coming along to our very popular nativity play featuring live animals and a real baby.

      

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