Denver Zoo has welcomed its second ever baby tamandua, a species of anteater. The male tamandua was born on March 12 to mother Rio. Currently they are spending time bonding behind the scenes at the Zoo’s Gates Animal Housing Centre.
While Salvador will not be going on exhibit visitors may meet him when is part of the Zoo’s Education collection. He will participate in outreach visits, zoo classes and VIP tours.
Salvador is the second baby for Rio and her mate Quito. Rio came to the zoo in November 2004 from Wichita’s Sedgwick County Zoo. Quito arrived in Denver during April 2013 from the Reid Park Zoo in Arizona. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended they breed. This program aims to increase the genetic diversity in American zoo populations.
Denver Zoo’s tamandua group are all named after cities in South America. Salvador, Brazil provided the name for this baby. He has an older sister named Cayenne after French Guiana’s capital city. She recently moved to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC. Mum Rio is named for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil while Quito’s name comes from Ecuador’s capital.
Tamanduas are widespread but uncommon. Their population continues to decrease as they are killed by hunters for their meat and are hit by cars. Pest control has led to the termites and ants which they catch with their 16 inch tongue disappearing. Loss of habitat has also contributed to their decline.
They are found in the savannah, thorn scrub and rainforest of Venezuela, Argentina and Uruguay. Tamanduas can be found climbing through the trees or hunting termites and ants.
Photo Credit: Denver Zoo