• Germany's news in English

Leipzig's baby tapir charms fans worldwide

The Local · 12 Mar 2013, 07:05

Published: 12 Mar 2013 07:05 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Zookeepers were delighted by the exotic new arrival and put out an appeal for names - but were overwhelmed by the more than 1,500 ideas which were sent in from across the globe.

Staff have filled the eastern German zoo's Facebook page with pictures of the little male tapir, attracting hundreds of comments and name suggestions.

Fewer tapirs are being born in captivity than ever before and in the wild they are being threatened with extinction, said zoo director Jörg Junhold.

The animals are most closely related to horses and rhinos, while their noses and upper lips form a prehensile snout a little like an elephant's nose. They communicate with high-pitched, screechy whistles and eat aquatic plants as well as fallen fruit.

Click for a gallery of the baby tapir

Possible names for the new Leipzig tapir include Tapsi, Flecki or Dot – inspired by the tapir baby's spotty fur which in around six month's time will give way to a darker, plain pelt.

But the change in the animal's colouring made it difficult to pick a name related to the early pattern said Junhold. “The name has to fit for the tapir's whole life,” he said. Leipzig zoo considers its animals to be ambassadors for their species in the wild, he added.

Tapirs originate in Southeast Asia, meaning that zoo staff may well opt for a more geographically appropriate name. Bintang, Malayan for star, or Tenuk, for tapir, are both also being considered.

Deadline for suggestions was initially March 18th but the zoo has extended it to March 27th, due to the excitement from tapir fans worldwide that the birth has generated.

“People are really making an effort, like researching the meaning of names on the internet,” said Junhold.

Leipzig zoo has been in the limelight since Heidi the cross-eyed possum became a celebrity in 2011, gaining fame for predicting that year's Oscar nominations. She died last year along with her sister and three others, signalling the end of the zoo's possum enclosure.

DPA/The Local/jcw

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:37 March 12, 2013 by marimay
He's cute. Wonder how long until they kill this one.
10:46 March 14, 2013 by raandy
Thats cold marimay, I wonder how much they will make off him before he dies. :-)
Today's headlines
Temperatures rise as sunny winter weather continues
A wintry countryside scene in Brandenburg on Monday. Photo: DPA.

The days are sunny and the nights are cold across Germany, but weather forecasters predict higher temperatures as the week goes on.

In Pictures
1,000 sprinting Santas take over small German town
From Lapland to lap times: Santas shed the pounds. Photo: DPA

Nearly 1,000 bearded, red coat-wearing runners took over a small Brandenburg town on Sunday - here's why.

Germany bucks global trend, sells more weapons
A Puma tank used by the German military. Photo: DPA.

Weapons sales around the world decreased last year, despite various ongoing military conflicts. But major German firms actually greatly increased their sales at the same time.

Teen's murder-rape arrest reignites refugee debate
Flowers and candles set up in Freiburg to honour the student found dead. Photo: DPA.

The German government pleaded for calm on Monday after the arrest of a teenage Afghan asylum seeker for the alleged rape and murder of a German student triggered fresh criticism of the country's liberal refugee policy.

China criticizes US for blocking sale of German firm
Aixtron's headquarter in Herzogenrath in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

The US is reportedly worried that China could use the firm's technology in its nuclear programme.

Germany should deport sick refugees: Merkel party mate
Rejected asylum seekers in Leipzig being taken to the airport. Photo: DPA.

A top member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party on Monday defended his proposal for Germany to deport sick refugees after receiving harsh criticism.

Rail worker jailed over train crash that killed 12
Rescue workers at the scene of the crash. Photo: DPA

A German rail dispatcher who admitted that his negligence caused a train crash that killed 12 people has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Why Germany is worried by Italy's referendum result
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after a crushing referendum defeat on Sunday. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel lost a key ally on Sunday night.

These are Berlin's seven most exquisite restaurants
Two-star chef Tim Raue. Photo: DPA.

The capital city still hasn't managed to snag three stars in the new 2017 Michelin guide released on Thursday, but it still boasts seven two-star eateries. Here's a look at what they have to offer.

Austrian vote a 'good omen for Europe': German minister
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday said that the far-right defeat in Austria's presidential election was "a good omen" for Europe.

Nobody does Christmas quite like the Germans.
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
This is how unequal German society has become
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
10 German books you have to read before you die
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd