Tuesday, May 10, 2011



A new baby Giant Anteater is born at the Santa Ana Zoo!

There’s a new baby nosing around in Orange County. 
The Santa Ana Zoo in Prentice Park is pleased to announce the birth of a giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) on April 28, 2011. Born to father “Peter” of University of California, Irvine fame and mother “Heesoo of Troy”, this birth has been highly anticipated by Zoo staff. Animal keeper and veterinary staff were able to perform ultrasounds to monitor the developing baby during the six month pregnancy. All appears well to Zoo staff and the pup is most often observed sleeping on mom with her tail draped over it.

The yet-to-be-named baby will ride around on its mother’s back up to 10 months while growing to over half her size. Giant anteaters are found in the tropical forests and grasslands of Central and South America. They are considered vulnerable in the wild due to habitat loss and hunting. In the wild anteaters may eat up to 30,000 ants and termites a day. The Zoo feeds a commercial food designed for insect-eating animals, plus spinach, papaya, hardboiled egg, banana and sometimes avocado--all mixed in a blender and presented as a “smoothie.” The baby will nurse for approximately six months.

The Santa Ana Zoo acquired giant anteaters in 2009 from a partner facility in South America with the help of donations from the UC Irvine Alumni Association and the Mike Schroeder Family.  This is the first birth of this species at the Santa Ana Zoo and was a collaborative effort of the Species Survival Plan Program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The mission of the Species Survival Plan Program is to manage and conserve select threatened or endangered species through the cooperation of AZA-accredited Zoos and Aquariums.

There are only about 100 giant anteaters in zoos throughout  the United States, and the species is classified as "vulnerable" due to the destruction of their habitat in the wild.
The anteater habitat at the Santa Ana Zoo is part of the newest exhibit, the Tierra de las Pampas, or grasslands exhibit.  This exhibit showcases rheas, guanacos, and the giant anteaters.  The pair of anteaters was introduced to this exhibit as part of a breeding program, and it's exciting that the first attempt in a brand new facility like this has resulted in a successful birth.

The new baby will be difficult to see for the next few weeks as she spends time bonding with her mother who is spending most of her time in the quiet off-exhibit sleeping quarters.  
Once she is on view for the public, you can find her in the Tierra de las Pampas daily between 10:00AM and 4:00PM at the Santa Ana Zoo in Prentice Park, 1801 Chestnut Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92701. 

Admission is $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors and children 3-12 years. Children under three are free. For more information call 714-836-4000 or visit our website at: www.santaanazoo.org.

1 comment: