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Love is now in the air for lonely Belfast Zoo anteater

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Pancho the anteater will soon be joined by a female companion at Belfast Zoo

Pancho the anteater will soon be joined by a female companion at Belfast Zoo

Pancho the anteater will soon be joined by a female companion at Belfast Zoo

Pancho the anteater will soon be joined by a female companion at Belfast Zoo

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Pancho the anteater will soon be joined by a female companion at Belfast Zoo

One of Belfast Zoo's loneliest animals is about to find love.

Giant anteater Pancho has been all alone since his partner Cara passed away last year, but not for much longer because a new love is on the way, thanks to the work of the studbook keeper managing the collaborative breeding programme for anteaters.

He will be joined by a new female partner from Olomouc Zoo in the Czech Republic. In the run-up to Valentine's Day, it has been a busy time for the Belfast Zoo team.

The penguin keepers have been busy preparing for the breeding season, putting nest rings into the enclosure.

"The arrival of the rings caused a lot of excitement and as females began to spot the new home improvements, they flocked to get the best spot," a spokesman said. 

"Just like humans, male gentoo penguins find the perfect rock to woo their love interest.  The female accepts the male if he presents her with the perfect pebble and then she uses the pebbles to fill her nest ring and to lay eggs onto.  

"Breeding season can be a noisy affair and, over the next few weeks, there will be even more excitement for the penguins as three birds will be arriving from Odense Zoo, one bird from London Aquarium, one bird from Dingle Aquarium and one bird from Antwerp."

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Meanwhile, the male Luzon bleeding heart dove that has been alone in the rainforest house for the last few years has just been joined by a new love.

"Luzon bleeding heart doves get their unusual names from the splash of vivid red on their white breasts, which resemble a bleeding heart," the spokesman said.

"The Rainforest house will be closed until February 27, to allow our 'love birds' to have some privacy. 

"These doves stay in contact with each other using a series of coos so listen out for them when you next visit the Belfast Zoo's rainforest house."


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