Who: Anteaters & Highways/Zoo Conservation Outreach Group (ZCOG) What: Giant Anteaters (vulnerable to extinction) Where: Brazil and other countries in South America Why: The forests and grasslands of the Brazilian Cerrado biome have been strongholds for giant anteaters; however, during the last 35 years, more than half of the Cerrado has been converted into pasture and agricultural lands, with the remaining habitat intersected by an increasing network of roads and highways, which are inflicting significant damage on the giant anteater population making it among the species most killed on roadways in the Cerrado.
To address the threat, the Anteaters & Highways project collects anteater road interaction data and helps protect the species in the wild. The research is designed to quantify the impact of roads on giant anteater populations and evaluate their effect on the species’ behavior, population structure and health. This project also investigates whether roads in the Cerrado are affecting anteater numbers by acting as population sinks and barriers to gene flow.
The zoo has established a relationship with lead researcher Dr. Arnaud Desbiez. Continuing support on this project increases the knowledge gained on this conservation challenge.