Say hello to Umi, third-ever endangered Malayan tapir born at Denver Zoo

DENVER, Colo. — Meet Umi, an endangered Malayan tapir born at the Denver Zoo early Saturday morning.

Zoo officials say she is only the third birth of her species at the zoo, and also the third for her parents, Rinny and Benny.

Right now, Umi – whose name means “life” in Malaysian – will remain behind the scenes at the zoo’s Toyota Elephant Passage habitat, where she being cared for by her mother until she gets a little older.

Now, what is a tapir?

The zoo says though they are most closely related to horses and rhinos, tapirs are similar in build to pigs, but significantly larger.

Malayan tapirs have a big, barrel-shaped body ideal for crashing through dense forest vegetation. They also have a snout similar to a stubby version of an elephant’s trunk.

When Umi becomes an adult, she could potentially grow to over three feet tall, 6 to 8-feet long and weigh between 700 and 900 pounds.

They may look fairly small, but they are excellent swimmers and spend a lot of their time in the water.

Malayan tapirs are the only tapir native to Asia. They were once found throughout southeast Asia, but now only inhabit the Indochinese peninsula and Sumatra.

Officials say there are fewer than 2,000 of them left in the wild and are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because of habit loss and hunting.

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