Belfast Telegraph

Pictured: Belfast Zoo welcomes arrival of giant anteater baby

Belfast Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a giant anteater baby.

The new addition was born on November 2 2017 to parents Pancho and Kara.

Belfast Zoo is home to the only giant anteaters in Ireland. 

Kara arrived from Duisburg Zoo and was joined by Pancho from Halle Zoo in 2012, as part of the collaborative breeding programme.

Zoo curator, Raymond Robinson, explained: “The pup spends the first year of life hitching a ride on the mother’s back. The infant is born with a full coat of hair and is almost identical to the adult. This helps to camouflage the baby against the mother’s coat and also makes the mother look larger to predators. 

"However, it is this camouflage that makes it very difficult for keepers to find out whether the newest member of the zoo family is male or female. We want to give the pair time to bond and minimise disruption, so a name will be selected when the baby is old enough."

The giant anteater is an endangered South American mammal. 

As their name suggests, the giant anteater is the largest species of anteater in the world and can grow up to seven foot in length.

Raymond continued: “The giant anteater’s name also hints at this species’ favourite food. 

"Incredibly a giant anteater can eat more than 30,000 ants and termites in a day."

Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, added: “This incredible species is found in the grasslands and rainforests of Central and South America.

“This unique species is facing the very real risk of extinction in the foreseeable future and it is imperative that Belfast Zoo and zoos around the world work together to play an active role in ensuring the survival of the species."

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