Minnesota Zoo’s star Tapir calf named

Minnesota Zoo’s star Tapir calf named

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Kelly Lessard

Public Relations Manager





“Amirah” leads public naming contest with 401 votes



Apple Valley, MINN – October 14, 2013 – The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce that its female Malayan tapir calf, the first born at 

the Zoo in more than 20 years, has been named “Amirah” (pronounced “ah MEER ah”) through a public naming contest. Amirah, which

means princess, was the winning name with 401 votes.


Amirah, born at the Zoo on July 20, has quickly become a guest favorite. Growing rapidly, she now weighs 101 pounds and can be seen

on exhibit each morning with her mother “Bertie.” For the first 6-8 months of life, tapir calves resemble furry watermelons with legs.

They are dark brown to black with alternating bands of yellowish-white stripes and spots. Young tapirs can weigh as much as 450

pounds at one year of age and reach adult size in about 2-3 years.


One of the most endangered animals in Southeast Asia, Malayan tapir populations are declining due to habitat loss from deforestation

for agricultural palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used in many food products, cosmetics, and bath products. You can help save tropical

forests that are home to tapirs and other wildlife by purchasing products that use sustainable palm oil. Learn more and pick up a

shopping guide by visiting


In human care, the Malayan tapir is managed for breeding purposes by a Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which, through the coordinated

efforts of several zoos throughout the United States, helps maintain the gene pool for the future aid of the wild population. The

Minnesota Zoo currently participates in 60 SSP programs, including that of the Malayan tapir. The Zoo had four prior Malayan tapir

births, the last one occurring in 1991.


The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of

the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit