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Baby Tapir Survives After Mouth-To-Snout Resuscitation At Denver Zoo

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The baby tapir (credit: Denver Zoo)

The baby tapir (credit: Denver Zoo)

DENVER (CBS4) – There was an amazing animal rescue at the Denver Zoo in September after a struggling newborn tapir got mouth-to-snout resuscitation from zoo staffers.

Surveillance video shows a female tapir in labor. Moments later she’s caught on camera giving birth to her baby. Denver Zoo staffers were watching in another room when they noticed something was wrong.

“We could tell that the baby wasn’t breathing, so after a couple minutes of giving mom the option of doing it herself we were forced in there,” zoo employee Rebecca McCloskey said.

McCloskey and veterinarian Gwen Jankowski can be seen rushing in to help the newborn. They were forced to break open the amniotic sac and perform mouth-to-snout resuscitation.

“This was a first-time experience. It’s one of those things … you know the basics of what has to happen and you just figure out how to get it there. It’s kind of that mommy instinct that takes over,” McCloskey said.

With just a few short breaths the baby tapir was able to breathe on his own. They’ve named him Dumadi, which is the Indonesian word for “becoming.” A short time later he was ready to nurse from his mother.

It was the first time that a baby tapir has been introduced to the Elephant Passage exhibit and the first time a newborn animal has had to be resuscitated at the Denver Zoo. Thankfully, mom and baby are doing just fine.

“The baby’s doing wonderfully. In fact, I haven’t seen him very much, which means he’s doing most excellent and we’re all excited,” Jankowski said.

Dozens of people were there to watch as the now one-month old baby tapir gets acclimated to his new home. It’s a heartwarming sight for zoo staffers thankful for a new additional to their zoo family.

“I’m just really happy that things turned out well and I know we were nervous and it was very intense at the time, but that baby was strong,” Jankowski said. “He did everything that he needed to do too.”

Dumadi’s mother is Rinny. She escaped from her enclosure earlier this year.

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