Known as the ant bear, these shaggy-coated giant anteaters are a wonderful sight of the Ibera Wetlands. As their name suggests, giant anteaters are the largest of their family, reaching up to 2.17 metres (7.12 feet) in length. They feed primarily on ants and termites and have no teeth; they use their large claws to dig insects out of the soil, where their long, sticky tongues scoop them up.
While these loveable animals seem well adapted to their surroundings, they are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List and are threatened by habitat destruction, fires, and poaching for fur and bush meat. Fortunately, conservation work is underway to reintroduce them back into the wild.
The Conservation Land Trust’s Ibera Project has been releasing giant anteaters into the wild in the Rincon del Socorro Reserve in the Ibera Wetlands since 2007. They have now released 50-60 anteaters, with at least 33 cubs being born there. If you are lucky enough to spot a giant anteater, look out for a baby on its back, as mothers give their young a piggyback ride until they are weaned.