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Baby tamandua latest addition to Reid Park Zoo

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Baby tamandua latest addition to Reid Park Zoo

  • courtesy Reid Park Zoo
  • courtesy Reid Park Zoo

While making morning rounds Aug. 10, keepers discovered a new addition to the Reid Park Zoo's menagerie: a baby tamandua, or lesser anteater.

The baby, who weighs less than a pound, was born overnight. The sex of Reid Park's latest critter is as-yet unknown, said Vivian VanPeenen, the zoo's director of education, in a Monday news release.

The baby tamandua, born to a first-time mother, is gaining weight and appears to be healthy, VanPeenen said.

"Keepers were anticipating the birth as the pregnancy had been confirmed by ultrasound," she said.

Although not considered endangered in the wild, Reid Park Zoo is one of only 20 zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to house tamanduas, VanPeenen said.

"This birth brings the entire population of tamanduas in accredited zoos up to only 29 individuals," said Leslie Waters, a zoo area supervisor.

"It is an incredibly exciting birth for our zoo. We were the only birth this year, so our colleagues will be excited to hear about this. Additional tamanduas are needed to contribute to the overall population and breeding program," Waters said.

The zoo's tamanduas are not regularly on exhibit, but appear as part of presentations by the education program, VanPeenen said.

While the animals lack teeth, they have a strong prehensile tail and long sharp claws for climbing and ripping into termite mounds, she said.

"They are unique looking and extremely inquisitive, making them a great ambassador species for the zoo’s education mission," VanPeenen said.

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