SAN DIEGO — Visitors to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park will soon be able to see a new southern tamandua pup that was born at the park late last month.
Staff announced on Friday the birth of the female southern tamandua, pronounced tuh MAN deh wah, a type of ant eater. The yet-to-be-named pup was born July 21 to first-time tamandua parents Cora and Fernando.
Covered in fine, silky grayish-brown hair, staff estimates the pup will nurse for five to six months and begin trying foods like worms after two to three months.
“Both mom and pup are doing very well—and Cora is an attentive mom, keeping her pup nestled in their den the majority of the time, but venturing outside for up to an hour some days,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “It is great to see the pup developing, using her strong claws to cling to Cora’s back with confidence as Cora climbs about the habitat.”
The father, Fernando, plays no role in raising the pup and does not share a habitat with mom and baby as tamanduas are typically solitary animals, except when mating. The species is sometimes referred to as the “stinkers of the forest” because they can release a very unpleasant odor similar to a skunk’s when a predator gets too close, wildlife officials said.
This pup’s birth comes after a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The species is considered to have stable populations but is at risk because of habitat loss and the increasing occurrence of being taken from their habitats for the pet trade.
The park said Cora and her pup will stay in their off-view habitat for about two months while they bond. When Cora is ready, she will bring her pup outside for longer periods of time.
Visitors can see mom and baby on a Behind-the-Scenes Safari at the Safari Park’s Wildlife Connections habitat or up close during an unscheduled wildlife presentation inside the Safari Park, staff said.