by Jim Nintzel
The Reid Park Zoo has a itty-bitty baby tamandua in the house:
Reid Park Zoo is pleased to announce another significant birth. A tamandua (pronounced tuh-MAN-deh-wah), or lesser anteater, was born on August 10th. Keepers were anticipating the birth as the pregnancy had been confirmed by ultrasound. Keepers discovered the offspring first thing in the morning during regular rounds.
Zoo animal care staff reports that the offspring (sex yet to be determined) is gaining weight and appears to be healthy. The veterinarian is keeping a close eye on this first-time mom and her offspring to make sure they continue to do well. Tamanduas are born weighing less than a pound.
Although not considered endangered in the wild, Reid Park Zoo is one of only 20 zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to house tamanduas. “This birth brings the entire population of tamanduas in accredited zoos up to only 29 individuals,” said Leslie Waters, 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.”
Tamanduas are not regularly on exhibit. They are a part of the Zoo’s education program, and make public presentations. These animals lack teeth, have a strong prehensile tail and long sharp claws for climbing and ripping into termite mounds. They are unique looking and extremely inquisitive, making them a great ambassador species for the Zoo’s education mission.