Belfast Zoo has welcomed a baby giant anteater.
This endangered South American mammal was born to parents, Pancho and Kara and the zoo is asking for your help to name the special arrival.
Pancho arrived in Belfast from Duisburg Zoo (Germany), in 2012, and was joined by Kara from Olomouc Zoo, in February 2015, as part of the European breeding programme. There are only 200 giant anteaters living in zoos around the world and Pancho and Kara are the only breeding pair in Ireland!
Zoo curator, Alyn Cairns, said: “We are all delighted to welcome a new member to the zoo family. Kara is a fantastic mum and for the first six months she will carry the pup on her back nearly all the time.
“While this is great camouflage from predators, it also makes it extremely difficult for the keepers to get a good look at the infant to find out whether it is male or female and we don’t want to disrupt the pair at this stage. Even though we don’t know what sex the pup is, the team have come up with some names and we would love your help to pick one.”
You can help to name the zoo’s latest arrival by placing your vote here.
As the name suggests, the giant anteater is the world’s biggest anteater species and can grow up to seven feet in length.
In Central and South America they live in the grasslands and rainforests and, while this species was once widespread, today their numbers vary drastically between countries.
They are considered one of the most threatened mammals in Central America. In fact in Brazil, there are serious concerns because, in some areas where they once roamed, there are now none left.
You can support the care of Belfast Zoo’s giant anteaters by taking part in the animal adoption scheme. Find out more about the animal adoption scheme at www.belfastzoo.co.uk/adoption, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 9077 6277 extension 229.