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A British zoo welcomes the birth of a rare Malayan tapir

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Conservationists are cooing over the arrival of a baby at a British zoo last week. Chester Zoo welcomed a rare Malayan tapir, an endangered species that grows to be about the size of a small mule with a head resembling that of an anteater. Its young calves have a distinctive coat combining spots and stripes. Fewer than 2 1/2 thousand of the creatures are estimated to remain across Southeast Asia. Experts say that hunting and the destruction of the animal's natural habitat in Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar have caused their numbers to sink by half in the past 40 years. The newborn at Chester Zoo has been named Nessa and weighed in at 20 pounds. One of the zookeepers told the BBC that the youngster was a real bundle of energy but that her mother was keeping a watchful eye on her.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.