Meet Baku, the Denver Zoo's new Malayan tapir

DENVER - The Denver Zoo has a new arrival -- an endangered Malayan tapir calf.

The male calf, named Baku, pronounced Bah-koo, was born April 29.

Baku is only the second birth of a Malayan tapir calf at the Denver Zoo.

Visitors can see Baku behind the scenes with his mother, via a live, closed-circuit video on monitors inside Toyota Elephant Passage.

“Baku” is the Japanese word for tapir. Baku are also supernatural spirits in Chinese and Japanese folklore that take children’s nightmares away and protect against evil. They are often depicted as having some tapir-like physical characteristics. As adults, Malayan tapirs have a distinctive color pattern that some people say resembles an Oreo cookie, with black front and back parts separated by a white or gray midsection. This provides excellent camouflage that breaks up the tapir’s outline in the shadows of the forest. By contrast, young tapirs have color patterns that more resemble brown watermelons with spots and stripes which help them blend into the dappled sunlight and leaf shadows of the forest and protect them from predators.

There are less than 2,000 Malayan tapirs in the wild.

Print this article Back to Top