Spotting any wild animal in their natural environment is an exciting moment, but spotting a creature that is normally very shy and elusive has an extra special resonance. The 13th of June proved to a group of travellers that the Amazon jungle is still full of surprises.
Led by Inkaterrra Hacienda Concepción Explorer Guide Carlos Torres, the group were heading towards Lake Sandoval, along the Sandoval trail, when one exclaimed they had seen ‘a large dark creature’.
The creature was actually a Giant Anteater, (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) which was approximately three metres long, making it the biggest individual of the four that currently inhabit the area. Though the Giant Anteater is known to be active in the region, this was the first time in several years that this species had been observed. The group of trekkers were in luck, with the individual feeling totally at ease in their presence, feeding on a nearby termite mound.
The Giant Anteater can consume as many as 30,000 insects in one day – visiting over 200 individual nests, spending an average of one minute at each site. After tearing open the hard nest exterior with long, knife-like claws, the Giant Anteater uses its sticky, 60cm long tongue to collect its prey.
Traditionally Giant Anteaters have been featured in the mythology and folklore of the indigenous tribes found in the Amazon, considered a trickster and a foil to the Jaguar, making this creature at the very heart of the Amazon civilisation and history.
It was a great experience for the group to see such a majestic creature that is normally seldom seen in their natural habitat. The fact that we have four individuals who are looking healthy and active demonstrates the great work the ITA are doing at protecting the environment in which they thrive.