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Regular ultrasound sessions for pregnant tapir at Singapore Zoo

By Evelyn Choo, Channel NewsAsia
24 March 2007

SINGAPORE : The Singapore Zoo will be welcoming a new addition soon.

A tapir is pregnant at the Zoo.

And to make sure that all goes well, the mother-to-be has been going for regular ultrasound sessions.

Malayan tapir Kharti is a mum-to be, and her newborn is expected to arrive in June.

The three-year-old is pregnant for the first time.

For vets at the Zoo, the close monitoring is unprecedented.

Dr Sonja Luz, Veterinarian, Singapore Zoological Gardens, said, "Monitoring it for that intensively yes, this is the first time. We've done several ultrasounds before on the Night Safari tapirs, but we never followed the pregnancy such as every two weeks, like what we'd do now."

It is all to make sure that Kharti's journey into motherhood proceeds as naturally as possible.

Since tapirs can be aggressive, Kharti had to be distracted with snacks before vets could lure her into the area where her ultrasound was conducted.

The process also went on smoothly because the zookeepers have built a good relationship with the animal.

Dr Sonja Luz said, "I think she's a bit more wary, and she obviously does not allow the male to come close to her as much as she would have before, and I think overall she's still the same...she was very calm when we just did the ultrasound but yes, maybe a bit more wary of the whole situation."

The tapir is an endangered species, as much of its habitat in Southeast Asia has been wiped out. - CNA/ms