Anteaters & Highways Update: Meet Baby Sue

Giant Anteater Conservation Program is Rehabilitating a New Anteater Baby

Reid Park Zoo is a proud supporter of the Anteaters and Highways project, which is working to protect anteaters and their habitat throughout Brazil. Anteaters are among the most killed species on the roadways that cross the forest and grasslands they call home. By utilizing research and public education, this project is learning how anteaters use habitat near roads and how to prevent them from getting hit when trying to cross.

A wild Giant Anteater wearing tracking equipment carries her offspring. This tracking harness tells researchers where anteaters cross roadways so that conservationists can better protect them from collisions with vehicles.

Through monitoring of roadways within anteater habitat, the project estimates more than 1,000 anteaters have died from being hit by cars over the last three years. Now in its fourth year, the project has expanded its focus to provide rehabilitation of baby anteaters found orphaned as a result of these fatal collisions.

Baby anteater Sue is bottle fed by her rehabilitators.

Meet Sue, named after Reid Park Zoo’s Director of Zoological Operations. Sue was found dehydrated in a field on May 10 of this year. Researchers searched everywhere for her mother but were not able to find her. It is suspected that Sue’s mother was killed by a car. At the time of her rescue, Sue was very ill and her survival was uncertain. Thanks to the expertise and round the clock care from Juliana and Victor, rehabilitation partners and veterinarians working with the Anteaters and Highways team, she is now strong. The team is optimistic that Sue will remain strong and be able to be released back into the wild, but for the next two years, they will monitor her carefully as she may have a weakened immune system from being ill. Rehabilitating young anteaters is challenging — last year only one of the seven babies that were rescued survived, but that anteater will be released back into the wild next month. Once released, young anteaters continue to be monitored. Sadly, only one of three released last year is thriving, further evidence that life in the wild has its own difficult challenges.

Please check back often. We will post updates on Sue’s continued recovery as we receive news from our partners in the Anteaters and Highways Program. Learn more about the work they do by visiting their website or following them on Facebook.