Threats to the conservation of the vulnerable giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) in the Cerrado biome: a retrospective survey


habitat fragmentation, roadkill, Xenarthra.

How to Cite

Martins, N. B., Pinto, N. N. R., da Silva, T. S. G., & da Hora, A. S. (2023). Threats to the conservation of the vulnerable giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) in the Cerrado biome: a retrospective survey. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 45, e001023.


In this study, we conducted a retrospective survey of 63 giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) using the Federal University of Uberlândia, Minas Gerais State, Brazil as reference site for wild animals. We analyzed the clinical records of 63 animals from January 2016 to February 2020. The information obtained included the location where the anteater was found, the reason for rescue, estimated life stage, gender, weight, general condition of the animal, clinical signs, diagnosis, and destination. Of the 63 animals, 30.15%, (n = 19/63) were found in rural areas, 25.40% (n = 16/63) in urban areas, and 22.22% (n = 14/63) near highways. The main reason for rescue was run-over accidents (n = 18/63, 28.60%). Regarding life stage distribution, 27% (n = 17/63) were cubs, 25.40% (n = 16/63) were adolescent, and 41.26% (n = 26/63) were adults. There was a higher frequency of females (n = 35/63, 56%), and three (9%) of them were pregnant or had cubs. For injury evaluation, three of the 63 giant anteaters were dead on arrival at the rehabilitation site; therefore, we excluded them from this aspect of the study. Of the 60 remaining anteaters, only 13.33% (n = 8/60) of the animals were healthy upon physical examination.The most common condition was traumatic brain injury (n = 32/60 53.33%), followed by fractures (n = 23/60, 38.33%), neonate triad (n = 15/60, 25%), and abrasions (n = 15/60, 25%). The animals presented a high mortality rate (n = 39/60, 65%). The animals presented a high mortality rate (39, 65%). The low number of giant anteaters reintroduced to their natural habitat and the high mortality rate of animals sent to rehabilitation centers show that the protection of giant anteaters is important to reduce the number of these animals sent to rehabilitation centers.


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Copyright (c) 2023 Nathana Beatriz Martins, Nataly Nogueira Ribeiro Pinto, Tainara Santana Galvão da Silva, Aline Santana da Hora