It is with a heavy heart that we report the death of Boo, our 18-year-old female giant anteater.
Boo appeared to be the picture of health during a routine checkup last September, but last week, she was found to have a low body weight, began behaving lethargically and exhibited stiffness in her hindlimbs. She was anesthetized for an exam on Thursday, where radiographs, an ultrasound and blood analysis indicated gastrointestinal gas accumulation and liver disease.
Boo was given fluids, vitamins and medications, and by Monday, her condition had improved—she showed more interest in food and water, and her activity level increased. Unfortunately, Boo took a sharp turn for the worse the following morning and died.
A necropsy revealed hemorrhages in many tissues and a significant amount of clotted blood in the abdominal cavity (suggesting a clotting abnormality caused by an unknown condition), as well as abnormalities in her heart valves and kidneys. Fluids and tissue samples were collected for further testing.
Boo was born at Oklahoma City Zoo and arrived here in 2011. She had one pup with Abner, our male giant anteater, in 2012. A skilled mother, Boo allowed the pup to ride on her back until he was nearly the same size as she—a behavior most giant anteater moms won’t tolerate beyond six months.
Curator of animals Dave Quavillon, who worked with Boo for almost 15 years, described her as “fearless,” undeterred by new situations. She was a skilled problem-solver, especially when it came to figuring out new enrichment items. Like most giant anteaters, she loved using her pool and slurping up avocado.
Please keep the Rainforest Revealed keepers in your thoughts during this challenging time. If you’d like to honor Boo’s memory, consider making a contribution to the Zoo Conservation Outreach Group, which facilitates the Anteaters & Highways research project in Brazil.