Cincinnati Zoo’s tamandua pup dies days after birth

A tamandua pup at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has died less than a week after it was born.

The pup died Monday, the zoo announced. It was born four days ago, on Thursday.

“This was unexpected, as mom and baby appeared to be doing well,” the zoo posted on Twitter. “Please keep the tamandua care team in your thoughts. This is a tremendously difficult loss for them.”

Isla, a 9-year-old tamandua, gave birth last week after being on birth watch for more than a month. It was the first birth of 2023 for the Cincinnati Zoo.

The pup’s sex had not been determined as of last week.

The zoo’s care team performed regular ultrasounds throughout Isla’s pregnancy to track fetal development, said Cincinnati Zoo’s zoological manager Julie Grove.

A tamandua pregnancy is between 130-190 days. Isla’s pup was born at end of that window, Grove said.

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.

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