Sacramento Zoo reports the death of the newborn Giant anteater. The female baby was born on March 9, 2010 to Amber, the female anteater and Beata, the male. The baby was found deceased mid-morning on March 16th, during a routine check. Over the past seven days, monitored via video, behavior cues showed the mother to be attentive and the baby growing stronger and holding on to her mother. The Sacramento Zoo is saddened by this loss; the cause of death is unknown at this time, and necropsy results may take one to two months.
"I couldn’t be more proud of the staff here at Sacramento Zoo. The staff members who've worked so hard to ensure that this newest addition thrived have proven themselves to be dedicated, thoughtful and sensitive to the needs of the animals in our care,” said Harrison Edell, Zoo General Curator.
The birth was marked by surprise and sorrow when a second baby born a few hours after the first died shortly after birth. The birth of two Giant anteaters is rare and has only been recorded very few times in Zoos, with only one pair surviving to adulthood. The survival rate of newborns is increased in captivity but complications can still occur.
The first born newborn was taken to the Dr. Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital when Animal Care staff determined it required medical attention. The baby was slowly warmed to a normal body temperature and hand-fed in an incubator overnight before being reintroduced to its mother. As its mother has successfully raised two other infants and was still showing maternal behaviors, the staff felt the infant had its best chance being raised by its mother. The reintroduction period over the past seven days was monitored. The observations will be used by other Zoos and researchers in the study of the species’ survival in zoos and the wild.