Cincinnati Zoo welcomes first baby of 2023

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden welcomed its first baby of the new year Thursday after Isla, a tamandua, gave birth.

The 9-year-old was on birth watch for more than a month before she delivered. The sex of the pup has not been determined at this time.

“The birth window for tamanduas is 130-190 days, and Isla’s pup came at the very end of that window,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s zoological manager Julie Grove. “Our Zoo Volunteer Observer team has been monitoring Isla’s every move since mid-November, and our care team has performed regular ultrasounds to track fetal development. Isla’s keepers have established an amazing bond with her, and she cooperates fully with ultrasounds and other health-related procedures.”

Both Isla and her pup are doing well.

Because of the long birth window, zoo employees were able to participate a birth pool to guess when the pup would be board. Each guess was $5, with all proceeds going to the Anteaters & Highways project, which works to decrease anteater road mortalities. The winner will be among the first to see the new pup, according to the zoo.

The tamandua, also known as the lesser anteater, use their long snout to find ant, termite and bee colonies. They have long claws that allow them to dig into nests and a long sticky tongue catches the insects. A tamandua can eat up to 9,000 ants a day, according to the zoo.

The Cincinnati Zoo will continue to share updates about Isla and her pup, including when zoo guests will be able to see them.

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