Keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo are delighted to announce the birth of a Southern Three-banded Armadillo. The tiny, female, armour-plated arrival was born in the middle of April and has been named Inti by her keepers. (Pronounced ‘In-tee’, the name comes from the ancient Inca sun god, of the same name.)
Inti is only the second birth of any Armadillo species at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. In 2014 another female called Rica was also born to parents Rio and Rodar.
At two-days-old, Inti was about the size of a golf ball and weighed only 100g, but by two-weeks-old she was just a little smaller than a tennis ball. She is currently a little over three-weeks-old and is reaching the size of a baseball!
Once Inti gets a little older, she will take part in the Zoo’s daily educational show called Animal Antics, where she will help raise awareness of vital work taking place by the conservation charity Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, who own and manage Edinburgh Zoo, to help the Giant Armadillo in the Brazilian Pantanal.*
Sarah Wright, Animal Presentations Team Leader at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said, “Our new arrival is doing well, and we are all celebrating her birth, as she is only the second Armadillo to be born at the Zoo. Inti was about the size of a golf ball when she was born, but is growing quickly and is a little bundle of energy. She will grow up to play a very important role in raising awareness about the plight of Armadillos in the wild and the threats they face, as well as the vital conservation work undertaken by RZSS to help conserve the Giant Armadillo from extinction.”
Southern Three-banded Armadillos (Tolypeutes matacus) are listed as “Near threatened” on the IUCN Red List and are increasingly threatened as a result of being hunted for food, the pet trade and loss of habitat. Three-banded Armadillos are the only type of Armadillo that can roll into a ball when threatened. They get their name from the three characteristic bands on their back, which allows them the flexibility to roll into a ball. The Three-banded Armadillo is native to parts of northern Argentina, southwestern Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.
The family of Three-banded Armadillos, at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, is not on show, but can often be seen in the daily Animals Antics shows at 12:15pm and 3pm, at the top of the hill in the Zoo.
*The Giant Armadillo Conservation Project established the first long-term ecological study of Giant Armadillos in the Brazilian Pantanal wetland and is now expanding to other Brazilian biomes. The main goal of the project is to investigate the ecology and biology of the species and understand its function in the ecosystem using radio transmitters, camera traps, burrow surveys, resource monitoring, resource mapping and interviews.
The ecological study was the first in the world to ever photograph a Giant Armadillo, also managing to photograph a baby Giant Armadillo in 2013 and to follow and observationally study the first few months of its life.
Dr. Arnaud Desbiez is a conservation biologist who has been working in the Brazilian Pantanal since 2002. RZSS has been funding Arnaud's work since 2005 he was made their Regional Conservation and Research Coordinator for Latin America in 2010.
Dr. Arnaud Desbiez was awarded the prestigious Whitley Award in 2015 for his work on the Giant Armadillo Conservation Project and his enormous contribution to grassroots conservation in the Pantanal and beyond.
To find out more about the Giant Armadillo Conservation Project, please visit the website at: rzss.org.uk/conservation/our-projects/project-search/field-work/giant-armadillo-conservation-project/