Goats play mom to abandoned tapir

(iStock)
(iStock)

Managua - A baby tapir abandoned by its mother can thank female goats in Nicaragua's National Zoo for its survival, sucking at their teats for milk, the director said.

"As the mother didn't want it, we decided to give it a bottle with goat's milk, because that doesn't give colic. And then we gave it the teat of a goat that had recently given birth," Marina Arguello told AFP.

But the tapir, Motita, proved too greedy for just one goat, and so others were pressed into milk service, she said.

The zoo has a breeding programme for tapirs, which are herbivorous pig-like animals with long, flexible snouts. They are native to Central and South America.

They can grow to be 2m long, weigh up to 300kg and live to 18 years.

The abandoned baby tapir in the zoo got its name because in Nicaragua "Motita" is a term used to refer to orphans.

The zoo's director said it is impossible to force a tapir mother to give milk to its young. "It's a question of character," she said.

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