Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A New Baby Giant Anteater Born at the Santa Ana Zoo!

Giant Anteater Baby Born in Santa Ana


A few short years ago, a new biome was designed and built at the Santa Ana Zoo.  Called the "Tierra de las Pampas", the concept was to emulate the grasslands of South America.  When the animals were chosen for this new habitat, then Zoo Director Ron Glazier incorporated the visionary idea of a breeding program for the Giant Anteaters
Who would have guessed that the program would be as wildly successful as it has been?

At the time, there were less than 100 Giant Anteaters in Zoos in the US, and many of them were related to each other.  That severely limited the ability to have new offspring for Zoos.
Working with the AZA Species Survival Plan Program, which manages and conserves select threatened or endangered species through the cooperation of AZA-accredited Zoos and Aquariums, The Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo helped to send key Zoo and veterinary staff to a facility in South America to bring back a pair of Giant Anteaters.  The anteaters met and hit it off, and this is the second successful birth for these proud parents.
 
 
The baby was born  on October 15, 2012.  The mother sleeps quite a bit after a birth, so mother and baby were not viewable by the public for the last few weeks.  The anteater pup is suspected (unconfirmed) to be female, and is very healthy.  The baby has been nursing from the mother and will eventually graduate to the standard anteater diet.
At birth, the baby has a full coat of hair and immediately scrambles for the mother’s back, where it will ride for up to a year. The babies are weaned at 6 months, and become independent at 24 months.
The anteater mother and baby can be viewed for part of the day in the smaller anteater yard, as the baby builds its strength for rides on the mother around the main yard, and eventually on its own.

 
Giant Anteaters are endemic to grasslands, rainforests, and mixed forest in Central and South America.
A quarter of Earth was once covered by grasslands, but much of these have now been turned into farms. This has resulted in a widespread loss of wildlife habitat. There are less than 5,000 Giant Anteaters left in the wild, and more of their native grassland is destroyed every day for development of urban spaces, farming, and other uses.

The Santa Ana Zoo is proud to be an AZA accredited Zoo, and of the role we play in animal conservation worldwide by participating in Species Survival Plan Programs like this.


 



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Contact: Kent Yamaguchi
November 6, 2012                                                                         Zoo Manager
                                                                                                   (714) 647-6522
                                                                                                   kyamaguchi@santa-ana.org





STORK VISITS 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 the October 15, 2012. 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 second 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.
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.  The Santa Ana Zoo in Prentice Park is located at 1801 Chestnut Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92701.  Hours are 10:00AM – 4:00PM.  Admission is $10.00 for adults, $7.00 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.  You can also follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SantaAnaZoo and join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Santa.Ana.Zoo .

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