Giant anteater Maripi gave birth to a female pup the night of January 24. Keepers monitored both Maripi and her pup via a closed circuit camera. Within 48 hours keepers became concerned that the pup was not thriving. Per Zoo protocol, keepers and veterinarians safely assessed the pup and concluded that the team needed to intervene as she appeared unable to nurse. The pup was taken to the veterinary hospital for more intensive care and supplemental feedings. Two days later, she was reintroduced to Maripi. The reintroduction went well, and Maripi was very attentive to her pup, however it still appeared that she was not nursing from mom. Keepers continued the supplemental feedings every few hours. The pup had gained weight by February 5, but the team suspected she had aspirated some formula, an issue encountered occasionally when hand-rearing both infant mammals and birds. Veterinarians confirmed the keepers' suspicions and diagnosed her with pneumonia. Despite the attentive and constant care, the pup died the evening of Feb. 11.
Giant anteaters Maripi and Dante bred in June 2014. Since then, our animal care team had been preparing for a pup, just as they have for Maripi's last three pups. They performed ultrasounds to confirm the pregnancy and to monitor the expectant mom. Maripi's final ultrasound before giving birth was captured in the Smithsonian Channel's upcoming episode of Wild Inside the National Zoo.