Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a healthy, giant anteater. The mom, a 17-year old named Praim, delivered the male on February 28 at a normal weight of 2.69 pounds. Both she and the newborn are doing fine.
“This is Praim’s 7th pup so she is an experienced mom, and everything went smoothly,” said Danielle Berthold, a carnivore keeper. “The pup will now stay with mom until he is a year to a year-and-a-half old. After that he’ll either stay at Nashville Zoo or travel to another zoo to meet a mate.”
Since 2001, 20 giant anteaters have been born at Nashville Zoo’s off-exhibit breeding facility. These reproductive successes have been enhanced by research projects done at the Zoo that focus on the biology of anteaters and their reproductive system. Nashville Zoo currently has 7 adult giant anteaters.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the giant anteater as vulnerable, although it is considered extinct in areas of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Uruguay. Giant anteaters are disappearing because of habitat destruction, hunting, dog attacks, and road kills. Only about 5,000 anteaters remain in the wild.
Nashville Zoo is paired with the conservation organization The Giant Armadillo Project and is recognized as a leader in caring for both giant anteaters and tamanduas. The Zoo’s animal care and veterinary staff are currently working on an anteater care manual in conjunction with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Program that will provide husbandry guidelines and veterinary issues associated with these species.
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