KUSA - If you've never heard of a tapir, buckle up because you're going to learn more about them then you ever needed to know.
The Denver Zoo welcomed Umi the Malaysian Tapir back in May, but she made her debut for everyone to see on Tuesday.
Tapirs (pronounced TAY-purr) are most closely related to horses and rhinos, and have a similar in build to pigs, but significantly larger.
Denver's newest tapir is named after the Malay word that means "life." Her mom is Rinny, who was born at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo in 2007 and came to Denver Zoo in 2010. Dad Benny was born at the City of Belfast Zoo in Ireland in 2006 and arrived at Denver Zoo from there in 2007.
The two met and sparks flew.
At least, the two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals.
Umi is the third birth for both parents.
Like most babies, Umi is staying close to her mom. Zookeepers say Umi is most active in the morning then picks up activity again after a nap.
Right now, her coloring resembles a brown watermelon, but zookeepers say by 6-8 months old, her pattern will have completely changed to one that resembles an Oreo cookie, with black in the front and back, separated by a white or gray midsection.
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