TAIPING, Nov 14 — The stork has been busy at the Taiping Zoo and Night Safari this year, delivering four baby animals including a rare species of gaur called the Malayan gaur (Bos gaurus hubbacki).
Weighing an estimated 20 to 30 kilogrammes, the female baby gaur was born to mum, Maya, on October 19 and is yet to be named.
It will be left with her mother until the age of nine months to feed.
The baby gaur will reach its maturity after three years with a life span of between 20 and 25 years.
The zoo’s director Dr Kevin Lazarus said the gaur is an endangered animal and feared to be extinct following the loss of habitat and poaching.
“Gaur has been listed as vulnerable in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List since 1986.
“It was also listed as totally protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010,” he told reporters.
Lazarus said at the moment there are four Malayan Gaurs, including the new born, in the zoo and the last time a gaur gave birth was in 2012.
He also said the newborn baby gaur is brown in colour now, but will turn dark brown and eventually take on a black coat as it grows older.
The gaur has also been chosen as the zoo’s logo and the mascot for the state football team.
Lazarus said the zoo also had another bundle of joy with the birth of a female zebra foal (Equus quagga burchelli) on November 11, which is also yet to be named.
“The new baby, which weighs around 30kg was born to a 18-year-old mother and 10-year-old father, via an Animal Exchange Programme,” he added.
Dr Kevin also pointed out that this is the first ever birth of a zebra foal in the zoo, adding they now have three zebra foals.
The zoo had also welcomed a white-handed gibbon baby (Hylobates lar), which was born on April 22 and a crowned crane chick (Balearica regulorum), which was born on July 13.
Dr Kevin describes the birth of the crowned crane are another success for the zoo as the animal is also threatened with extinction due to the change in weather pattern and trapping for embellishment purposes.
Meanwhile, Taiping Municipal Council president Datuk Abdul Rahim Md Ariff said that the birth of new baby animals is a good sign as it will attract more visitors to the zoo.
“When a baby hippopotamus was born two years ago, we received a large number of visitors. We hope more people will come and visit these new born animals,” he said.