This is the second to last species in the IUCN’s 2010 Species of the Day ‘collection’. Quite incredible to think there have been 365 species profiled here. I will be doing a little tribute, with some of the highlights for tomorrow’s post…
The Giant Anteater is Vulnerable. This utterly magnificent creature occupies a range extending from Honduras, south to Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina, and feeds on ants and termites with the aid of its long, sticky tongue.
The dietary specificity, low reproductive rates and large body size of this species, along with habitat degradation, particularly in Central America, have proved to be significant factors in the Giant Anteater’s decline. Individuals are also sometimes killed on roads, and where the species occurs in grassland habitats, it is at risk from both natural and human-caused fires. The Giant Anteater is also hunted for food, and in some areas it is hunted as a pest or to be kept as a pet.
This distinctive animal is protected across most of its range, and occurs in many protected areas. It is also listed on Appendix II of CITES, meaning that international trade in the species should be carefully regulated. Other recommended conservation measures for the Giant Anteater include improving fire management practices, particularly within the grassland areas it inhabits.