A new species for DZG
We’ve welcomed a brand new species to DZG and what a beauty she is – meet Romy, our female Giant Anteater!
The 11 month-old arrived last night from Olomouc Zoo in the Czech Republic and it’s the first time we’ve held the unique mammal in our 79-year history.
Curator Richard Brown, said: “We’re very excited to have Romy here.
“We’ve wanted anteaters for a long time and as a lot of visitors mistake our Brazilian tapirs for anteaters, they can actually see them now too and notice the differences.
“And as we approach the zoo’s 80th anniversary next year, it’s great to still be bringing in new animals and be involved in even more conservation programmes.”
Romy took her first steps out into her new paddock, located opposite the barbary sheep, this morning, which staff have been busy preparing for the last few weeks.
A distinctive solitary species, found in the tropical forests and grasslands of Central and South America, anteaters have no teeth and use their long tongues, which can project more than two feet, to eat up to 35,000 ants and termites a day in the wild.
However captive anteaters eat a gruel supplement mixture packed full of meat, maize, fish oil and vitamins and minerals, which we’ve had to order in specially for Romy to enjoy.
Richard added: “Romy has joined us as part of a European Studbook programme and we’re hoping a suitable male will join her in the future.”
Listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2010, the population has decreased by at least 30 per cent over the past decade, due to habitat destruction as well as being killed for food and pests.
Did you know .
- Their large bushy tails are often used as a blanket at night or a sunshade during the day.
- They have five sharp claws on each foot which they use to tear open ant hills and termite mounds.
- The outer three claws on the front feet are enlarged which they also use to defend themselves against predators, which include jaguars and mountain lions.
- To protect themselves they will rear up on their hind legs and slash out the attacker.