Anteater still missing from Taipei Zoo after late-night escape

Security footage showed 3-year-old anteater swimming away with her baby in September

Collared anteaters are typically shy and not dangerous to humans. (Taipei Zoo photo)

Collared anteaters are typically shy and not dangerous to humans. (Taipei Zoo photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taipei Zoo said Thursday (Oct. 15) that a three-year-old collared anteater that escaped from the tropical rainforest area last month has yet to be found.

According to Taipei Zoo spokesman Eric Tsao (曹先紹), the anteater, "Xiaohong" (小紅, Little Red), has been a visitor-favorite since she arrived from the Singapore Zoo in August 2018. However, on Sept. 1 she was discovered missing from her enclosure along with her six-month-old baby.

After checking surveillance footage, zookeepers discovered that Xiaohong had climbed over the electric fence surrounding the tropical rainforest area and escaped through a culvert at 2 a.m. Although zoo employees were later able to locate the baby anteater, its mom remains at large.

The director of the rainforest zone, Weng Shao-Yi (翁紹益), expressed concern over Xiaohong's safety, saying collared anteaters are usually shy and stand no chance against their natural predators, such as jaguars, civets, and even wild dogs. He said they tend to stretch out their arms when they feel threatened in order to appear larger but that they are capable of very little in the way of defense, reported UDN.

The Taipei Zoo is asking the public to keep an eye out for Xiaohong, which is about 65 centimeters in length and has a cream-colored coat. It stressed that the missing anteater is incapable of causing injury to humans and that anyone who spots her should contact the zoo immediately.

Meanwhile, the Taipei Zoo has strengthened security around the tropical rainforest area and removed floating wood from water crossings so that it cannot be used to escape. The zoo is also considering improving the outdoor spaces for collared anteaters, reported CNA.

Anteater Xiaohong and her baby. (Taipei Zoo photo)