Reid Park Zoo Helping to Save the Southern Tamandua

A Major Success for Conservation

Reid Park Zoo announced the birth of a baby southern tamandua earlier this fall. Lety, the Zoo’s twelve-year-old female tamandua, welcomed her seventh offspring on August 31. During the initial health check, animal care staff were able to determine the baby was in good health. Lety has given birth to six male tamanduas in the past who have gone on to be great ambassadors for their species at zoos across the country. Due to this historical knowledge and what was seen during the physical exam, it was thought the newest addition was also a male. However, as the baby tamandua matured it has been confirmed that Lety has welcomed a female offspring, named Prima.

“Determining the sex of a newborn southern tamandua can be tricky,” said Dr. Alexis Moreno, Reid Park Zoo’s Veterinarian. “After the birth, we conducted a quick health check and a physical exam to ensure the health but then returned the baby tamandua back to the mother so they could bond. This is a quick process so we can ensure the baby remains comfortable during a time that can be stressful.”

The birth of a female southern tamandua is a huge success for the conservation of the species because they are known to be rare both in the wild and within zoos. “Lety’s lineage is really widespread within AZA-zoos,” said Katie Hutchinson, Lead Animal Ambassador Keeper at Reid Park Zoo. “Now with this birth, we have the second female generation of this lineage. A single male can mate with several females, but females are the only ones that have the ability to actually increase the population.”

Currently the animal care team at Reid Park Zoo are working together to prepare Prima for her important role as an animal ambassador where she will help educate people across the country about southern tamanduas. While Prima remains behind the scenes, she will be learning behaviors that will extend throughout her life and make it possible for her to receive the best care possible.

Although not on habitat, guests may have the opportunity to see these incredible animals and learn how Reid Park Zoo is continuing to help with the conservation of the southern tamandua species during the animal presentations at the Conservation Learning Center. You can see a schedule of daily activities here.