THE New Year has brought a welcome new arrival to one of the region's top attractions - and like little babies everywhere, she's the apple of her mother's eye.

Young Melly is the is the first Brazilian tapir to be born at Flamingo Land Zoo, near Pickering, North Yorkshire, in more than 30 years.

Staff at the zoo hope her presence will indicate that a naturally productive spring lies ahead.

They have given the youngster the name Melly because they reckon she looks like a fat little watermelon on legs.

Administrator Sean Drayton said: "Melly is only the third tapir we have here: her mother and father came in 2001 as new arrivals.

"The male, Woody, was from a private collection, and Melly's mum, Tiggy, came from Chessington."

Melly is expected to be out and about in her enclosure when the tourist season gets under way. The zoo will be reopening after its winter break at the end of March.