Mar 20, 2014 3:33 PM by Elaine Sheridan
A newborn tamandua baby is alive and doing well at Denver Zoo despite a rough start in life.
On March 7, Southern tamandua Rio gave birth to her first offspring, a little girl named Cayenne.
Unfortunately, Rio left the baby unattended within the first 24 hours and was not allowing her to nurse. Staff stepped in to give supplementary feedings day and night while monitoring the baby's condition. They continued to give Rio time to bond with and nurse her baby, and Rio is slowly learning her role as a mother. Little by little, Rio is becoming more accustomed to Cayenne behind-the-scenes at the Zoo's Gates Animal Housing Center.
"We knew from our conversations with experts at other zoos that it can take a new tamandua mother a while to develop maternal instincts, and first births of this species typically have low success rates," says Denver Zoo Education Animal Programs Manager Kristin Smith. "We were determined, though, to make sure this baby would survive while Rio figured out how to be a good mom."
This is the first birth, not only for Rio, but also her mate, Quito. Rio was born in November 2004 at Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas and came to Denver Zoo in April 2005.