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Jakarta Post

North Sumatra tapir to be returned to wild after giving birth

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Tue, September 3, 2019   /   06:58 pm
North Sumatra tapir to be returned to wild after giving birth A pregnant 7-year-old tapir (right) is housed in an area with other tapirs at the Pematang Siantar animal conservation park. Plans to release the tapir into the Dolok Surungan Wildlife Reserve in North Sumatra have been postponed until after she gives birth. (JP/Apriadi Gunawan)

North Sumatra authorities have postponed a plan to release a female Sumatran tapir into the wild after discovering that she is pregnant.

The tapir was previously rescued from a plantation in Asahan regency.

After finding out that the tapir was pregnant, the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) decided to transfer the mammal to the Pematang Siantar animal conservation park until it gave birth.

North Sumatra BKSDA head Hotmauli Sianturi said the agency would ultimately release the female tapir into the Dolok Surungan wildlife reserve, which is a natural habitat for tapirs.

“We were supposed to release the tapir today. However, since she is pregnant, the agency decided it would be safer for it to be released after it has given birth,” Hotmauli told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Hotmauli said an ultrasonography revealed that the tapir was three to four months pregnant. 

He added that the gestation sac, which contains the embryo and amniotic fluid, was fully formed. However, the fetus is not completely developed and is in the organogenesis phase.

Hotmauli said a tapir’s pregnancy typically lasted 400 days, which meant the female tapir found by the North Sumatra BKSDA would be kept at the Pematang Siantar animal conservation park for seven to eight months. 

During its time at the park, the tapir will be monitored to ensure its health is stable at all times. 

Hotmauli explained that the tapir had a wound on its neck as it had been restrained with a rope. It had also sustained an injury to the back when it was removed from the plantation.

The female tapir was found trapped in pool of water on the Bandar Selamat plantation in Asahan regency in mid-August.

The tapir had previously been sighted in a nearby village and was promptly chased away by locals. The tapir ran into the plantation and into the pool of water.

The Sumatran tapir is an endangered species as a result of shrinking habitats and hunting. Environment and Forestry Ministry data reveals that 22 tapirs, comprising nine males and 13 females, are currently being kept in zoos across Indonesia. (bry)