Baby tamandua nursed back to health at Denver Zoo


A newborn tamandua is being nursed back to health at Denver Zoo. (Credit: Denver Zoo)

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DENVER — Zookeepers and veterinarians at Denver Zoo are caring for a newborn tamandua baby after it was born March 7.

The Southern tamandua named Rio left the newborn, named Cayenne, behind in the first 24 hours, so the zoo’s staff jumped in and gave it supplementary feedings.

“We knew from our conversations with experts at other zoos that it can take a new tamandua mother a while to develop maternal instincts, and first births of this species typically have low success rates,” Denver Zoo Education Animal Programs Manager Kristin Smith said. “We were determined, though, to make sure this baby would survive while Rio figured out how to be a good mom.”

Rio, who mated with a tamandua named Quito, was born in 2004 and came to the Denver Zoo from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan., in April 2005. Rio and Quito are not on exhibit at the zoo.

Southern tamanduas inhabit South America, from Venezuela to Argentina to Uruguay and are a species of anteater. Their long tongues can reach up to 16 inches as they feed on insects.

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