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Missing anteater returns to Taipei Zoo

After three months as fugitive, 'Little Red' found sleeping in mountains of New Taipei

Anteater Xiaohong has returned to Taipei Zoo after three months at large. (Taipei Zoo photo) 

Anteater Xiaohong has returned to Taipei Zoo after three months at large. (Taipei Zoo photo) 

[Last update: Dec. 7 at 12:25]

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After being in the wild more than three months, a missing anteater was finally found by hikers on Sunday (Dec. 7) and has been returned to Taipei Zoo.

Zoo spokesperson Eric Tsao (曹先紹) confirmed the news later that day. Xiaohong (小紅, Little Red) the anteater escaped from the zoo on Sept. 1 with her baby by climbing over the electric fence surrounding the tropical rainforest area where they had been moved two days earlier.

The three-month-old baby anteater was later located, but Xiaohong remained at large until Sunday.

Tsao told CNA that hikers had reported seeing Xiaohong in the mountains in New Taipei's Shenkeng District – about 3 to 4 kilometers from the zoo, at around 1 p.m. The zoo immediately sent a team of 36 staff members, which discovered a sleeping Xiaohong, whose identity was later confirmed through its chip, reported UDN.

Xiaohong was fed and allowed to rest once she returned to the zoo. She would undergo a thorough examination on Monday (Dec. 7), said Tsao, who added that details would be disclosed later.

Upon examination, veterinarians found that Xiaohong had lost 1 kilogram of weight and sustained a number of minor injuries since fleeing from the facility, the zoo said via a statement on Monday (Dec. 7). In addition, the zoo said the anteater was dehydrated and had a low body temperature and blood sugar level, adding that she is being carefully attended to.

【保育員衝山頭尋回小食蟻獸〜終結「小紅」意外野地求生旅程】 從臺北市立動物園意外脫逃的南美小食蟻獸「小紅」,在熱心民眾協助下,終於被找回來了!...

Posted by Taipei Zoo 臺北市立動物園 on Sunday, 6 December 2020

The zoo’s management has recently been under fire after several animals fled from their facilities. After the escape of Xiaohong and her offspring, a leopard cat named Fei Fei ran away last month through a hole it had dug.

The fugitive feline is a species endemic to Taiwan and is thus believed to be able to adapt to the outside environment better than Xiaohong, said Tsao. The zoo will consult with experts to decide whether to bring Fei Fei back to the zoo if they find it living a good life in the wild.