San Diego Zoo Safari Park Welcomes a Tamandua Anteater Pup: 'We Are Elated'
The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is one animal stronger.
On Friday, the SDZWA announced the arrival of a southern tamandua pup. First-time mom Cora the tamandua — a type of anteater — gave birth to the baby animal on July 21 at the San Diego Safari Park.
Cora, the currently unnamed female pup, and dad Fernando are all doing well following the birth. The healthy newborn has been busy bonding with mom, who doesn't let the pup out of her sight, according to the SDZWA's release.
"We are elated to have this little pup in our care," Lisa Peterson, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park executive director, said in a statement. "Both mom and pup are doing very well — and Cora is an attentive mom, keeping her pup nestled in their den the majority of the time but venturing outside for up to an hour some days. It is great to see the pup developing, using her strong claws to cling to Cora's back with confidence as Cora climbs about the habitat."
The pup will likely nurse from Cora for five to six months before exploring solid foods like worms. In the wild, tamanduas are solitary creatures outside of their mating season, so Fernando will play no role in raising his pup with Cora.
Tamanduas are native to South and Central America and are also called lesser anteaters since the animal is noticeable smaller than their giant anteater relatives. Tamanduas, who use their sense of hearing and smell to find food, survive on a diet of worms and insects and can eat up to 9,000 ants a day with their 16-inch-long sticky tongues.
The species is classified as "Least Concern" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species because of its stable wild population. Still, wild tamanduas are at risk due to habitat loss and the exotic pet trade. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park's new pup results from a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Southern Tamandua Species Survival Plan, designed to help maintain a healthy population of this species.
Cora and her pup will remain in their off-view habitat for at least two months. The public will see the baby animal once Cora deems the pup is prepared for longer trips outside.
This story originally appeared on people.com