Out of all the species of anteaters, the largest is the giant anteater. It is found primarily in Central America and South America. However, some fossil remains of this species have been found in Sonora in Mexico. The animal lives in deciduous forests, grasslands as well as rainforests. However, today, anteaters are considered to be endangered animals. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has categorized anteaters as Appendix II animals. This basically means that though the species is not facing extinction, its trade is controlled to prevent overuse.
As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, anteaters are vulnerable species. It is believed that in the next ten years, the population of this species will reduce by 20 percent in the wild. According to zoologists and conservationists, there are just five thousand anteaters living in the wild. In the US, just ninety anteaters are found in zoos. (See Reference 1)
In the wild, the biggest threat to anteaters comes from its natural predators, the jaguar and the cougar. While anteaters do have large claws in their front paws, their general response is to run away when they are threatened. Since the anteaters are rather large in size, only large predators hunt them down. (See Reference 1)
Humans too are a threat to anteaters. Many of them are hunted down, and some of them are killed unintentionally when they collide with cars. However, there has been a report in the year 2007 that an anteater mauled a zookeeper in Buenos Aires in Argentina. The zookeeper had to be rushed to the hospital after getting mauled by the anteater in her abdomen and legs. Unfortunately, the zookeeper died after her leg was amputated. Another problem for the anteaters is destruction of their natural habitat by human activities. This is causing their number to dwindle in the wild as they are running out of space to forage for food. Anteaters mainly live on ants and termites, and are known to consume up to 30,000 ants or termites in one day. (See Reference 1)
More Articles :