Chester Zoo welcomed the third anteater pup in its 92-year history on Wednesday, April 12.
Footage released by the zoo shows the giant anteater pup already up and about and getting piggy-back rides from its mother, 13-year-old Bliss.
The yet-to-be named pup was born measuring around 60 cm but can grow over two meters in length.
David White, team manager for giant anteaters at the zoo, said Bliss and the pup were doing well.
“The baby is feeding from mum’s milk – crawling to her underbelly to suckle before climbing back around to rest on her back,” White said. “The pup will take up this position for around 10 months as its matching fur helps keep it camouflaged, while also making mum look bigger and therefore more off-putting to would-be predators.”
It is hoped that the pup and the opportunity to study it from birth can help with conservation efforts for anteaters in the wild.
“Very few long-term studies of giant anteaters have ever been carried out by the global conservation community, meaning it’s challenging to implement effective conservation actions for these unique-looking animals. It’s not easy to protect a species without an in-depth understanding of what’s happening to them,” Paul Bamford, Chester Zoo’s field conservation manager for South and Central America, said.
“This field work, coupled with our care and conservation breeding of giant anteaters at the zoo, is critical to understanding more about this wonderful animal and protecting future generations,” Bamford added.
Giant anteaters are classed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
Credit: Chester Zoo via Storyful