Giant Anteater

Our goal is to reestablish the presence of this spectacular mammal inside the region of the Iberá Wetlands and in its surrounding areas.

Current status of the project (updated June, 2017): Current status of the project (updated June, 2017): The first anteaters were released in the Rincón del Socorro Reserve (a CLT reserve included in the Ibera wetlands, adjacent to the town of Carlos Pellegrini) in 2007. Since then, these animals have been continuously released in that area, reaching an estimated 80 individuals with proof of at least 36 cubs having been born in the wild. In October 2013 the first four animals were released in another area of Iberá, the Estancia San Alonso. Continued release in San Alonso led to a total of 30 animals, including 10 pups born in the wild. As a result, an estimated of around 100 anteaters, distributed in two populations, currently live in Iberá.

What is a giant anteater?

The giant anteater is one of the most striking and peculiar mammals of Argentina. It has a long snout without any teeth, and it has a very long tongue which it uses to obtain its primary food source: ants and termites. Thanks to its long tail, these animals can reach a length of 2 meters. The Anteater is found in the Chaqueña Region in Northern Argentina and within the wet forests of the province of Missiones. Anteaters only have one offspring per year, and therefore, it is an animal that is very sensitive to human persecution and to the loss of natural habitat. Because of these two dangers, the Anteater is considered an animal in danger of extinction in Argentina.

Giant anteater in the grasslands of Iberá

What are the benefits of this project?

Thanks to this project, we can:

  • Achieve the giant anteaters’ return to the Iberá Wetlands.
  • Return animals that have been in captivity to their natural habitat.
  • Better learn the biology of this not very studied species.
  • Establish a new tourist attraction for the locals and visitors of Iberá.
  • Create of program dedicated to the conservation of threatened species which can serve as a model for similar cases in other places.
  • Foment mechanisms of interinstitutional cooperation between Provincial governments, the National Wildlife program, Non-Profit organizations, and Argentine/ International research centers.

Anteater recently incorporated to the project

 

Anteater with a radiocollar

How do we carry out the project?

The objectives, actions, methodologies, times and indicators relating to the reestablishment of the species in the Iberá region are explained in our "Reestablishment Plan" (open document) officially approved by the Direction of Natural Resources of Corrientes and evaltuated by the Direction of Argentine Wildlife. In general terms, the project care for anteaters that have been rescued from private households or donated from private or public entities. Many of these animals are babies that are left orphaned when hunters kill their mother within the chaqueño forests. Once the animals enter our project, babies are placed into a phase of intensive care and adults are put into quarantine. Once they have passed all of the pertinent checkpoints and are big enough to successfully incorporate themselves into the wild, the anteaters are brought to the reserve Rincón del Socorro where they are temporarily kept in “acclimation corals” for 10 days. After this period of time, the coral doors are opened and the animals are free to leave and begin their lives in the grasslands, wetlands, and forests of Iberá. Each anteater released has a radio emission collar that allows us to track its progress adapting to its environment, and in the case of females, allows us to track possible reproduction. This follow up has allowed us to stay up to date about the reintroduced population and to continually improve our management of the project. In addition to the activites associated with animal management, our project also participates in promotional activites to share our methods and successes. For example, we have detalled documentaries about the project as well as pamphlets and informative newsletters about the latest news of the project. We estimate that the project will need around 10 to 15 years to fulfill all of its general objectives.

Follow-up of an anteater by telemetry

 

Veterinary work with a released anteater

Who collaborates with the project?

The Giant Anteater project is an joint iniciative between the Department of Natural Resources of Corrientes and the Conservation Land Trust. Additionally, the project relies on the support of the Argentine Department of Wildlife, the collaboration of the Biological Station of Corrientes, the Natural History Museum in Buenos Aires, the consultancy of Correntine non-profits such as Fundación Iberá and The Correntine Association for Wildlife Rescue, as well as international non-profits such as the Tamanduá Project in Brazil. We hope to continue advancing in this project and to collaborate with more institutions.

List of partner institutions in 2007:

  • Fundación Crecer Juntos de Jujuy
  • Dirección de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales de Jujuy
  • Proyecto de Conservación del Giant Anteater (Artis Zoo y Zoológico Florencio Varela)

List of partner institutions in 2008:

  • Proyecto de Conservación del Giant Anteater (Artis Zoo y Zoológico Florencio Varela)
  • Subdirección General de Fauna de Santiago del Estero
  • Reserva Experimental Horco Molle/Universidad de Tucumán
  • Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible de Salta

List of partner institutions in 2009:

  • Dirección Gral de Recursos Forestales y Medio Ambiente de Santiago del Estero
  • Collet Wildlife Trust

List of partner institutions in 2010:

  • Dirección Gral de Recursos Forestales y Medio Ambiente de Santiago del Estero
  • Gobierno de Salta
  • Gobierno de Formosa
  • Reserva Experimental Horco Molle/Universidad de Tucumán

Video

The Return of the Yurumí: The Giant Anteater Reintroduction to Iberá