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Ulan gave birth June 10! Tapir calf is healthy, strong and totally adorable.

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

The #SeattleWatermelon has arrived. On June 10 at approximately 9:30 p.m., our Malayan tapir Ulan, gave birth to her first baby, a girl. We are in love.

The gestation period for tapirs is approximately 13 months, and for Ulan, her birth window was between April and June, since we weren't exactly sure when she conceived. The average weight for calves at birth is 22 pounds, and Ulan's baby is 18 pounds. Calves are born with their eyes open and can stand within one or two hours after birth—and as you can see from these photos—baby tapirs hit their adorable watermelon benchmark right away!

The newborn calf gets a quick neonatal exam by the animal health team before being reunited with mom.
“These ‘watermelons on four legs’ are irresistible,” says Kevin Murphy, animal curator. “It will be curiously fun to watch her explore the public habitat, which we did our best to tapir baby-proof to minimize any risks. We can’t wait to share our baby tapir with our community when we reopen.”

Our veterinary team performed a neonatal exam on the newborn tapir. “The baby’s vital signs, including heart, lungs and eyes, all look good. She appears to be strong and weighed in at a healthy 18 pounds,” says Dr. Sally Nofs, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo. “So far Ulan is showing attentive maternal care. Mom and baby are bonding and the baby is nursing appropriately.”

Hello, little one! Baby tapirs seem to have an entire constellation of spots and stripes.
Animal care staff will continue to closely monitor Ulan and her baby to make sure developmental milestones are reached. The tiny calf will stay indoors close to mom for the first week of her life. Following that, she will be introduced gradually to the outdoor habitats with mom as soon as it is warm and dry enough.

The striped pattern begins to fade after a few months and the calf begins to look like a miniature adult at about 5 to 8 months old. Right now, it's full watermelon!

This tapir calf is the first offspring between mom, 8-year-old Ulan, and dad, 20-year-old Bintang. Bintang was born at Woodland Park Zoo and has sired two offspring while he lived at other zoos before returning here in 2014. Ulan and Bintang were paired for breeding under the Malayan Tapir Species Survival Plan, which is a cooperative, conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of tapirs.

As soon as Woodland Park Zoo has a reopening date, (we're working on it!) we know you'll be eager to visit Ulan and her little one. Depending on the weather, the #SeattleWatermelon will be ready to meet you in the Trail of Vines. Until then, you can visit to learn more about endangered Malayan tapirs, follow the journey of Ulan and her new baby, download tapir activity kits, adopt a tapir ZooParent, grab a tapir-worthy gif and more!

Baby tapir tests out its very own ZooParent Facebook frame! Head over to to adopt a digital ZooParent and get a frame for yourself!
We are overjoyed to share this special news with you. With spots and stripes to stay hidden in the bamboo and reeds, a baby tapir looks a lot like a watermelon when it's born! We'll watch our #SeattleWatermelon grow together at

Ulan's newborn tapir looks like a watermelon on legs due to its reddish-brown coat dappled with white and cream-colored spots and stripes! This color pattern works wonders as camouflage in bamboo or reed jungles.


LoveApes said…
She is beautiful! Ulan must be so happy and Bintang so proud.
Anonymous said…
She is so cute!!!!