Tamandua rescued July 1, 2014

July 1, 2014  This tamandua was rescued by Ladyville police, who noticed the animal with a nasty wire harness, attached to the tree with about 9ft of wire.  Sgt Romero and his team managed to get the animal down from the tree, placed it in the cage  and passed it to Belize Wildlife Hotline - Gillian Kirkwood, who got Dr. Phillip DeShield from Belize AMC, and 4 members from her family to assist in removing the wire from the animal. It is a very dangerous ordeal, since tamanduas have very powerful claws and are very fast when defending themselves.

July 2, 2014 Thanks to their efforts, the animal was relieved of wires and in the morning picked by Wildtracks team that was on the way to the wildlife clinic in Cayo. After that we picked the animal and placed in the inside enclosure for the close observation.
As you can see, it takes a lot of people to perform the rescue operation of just one animal.

Thru the night the animal was very active climbing the trees in the enclosure, but didn't eat any termites, or avocado. Drank a lot of water. Was very alert and hissed a lot.  Overall, she didn't seem to be severly injured, but you can see on her fur that she had some discharge from her eyes, which is one of the first signs of severe stress in the tamanduas.

July 3, 2014 At 5am, Tamandua went to sleep in the same nesting box that all other tamanduas choose as their sleeping area- it is at 1.5 m high above the ground, in the dark area of the enclosure.
Since then she was asleep. We tried to change the termites nests and brought 3 more young nests, but she showed no interest so far.  She appears to be very sleepy, but alert, and wakes up every single time I open the enclosure.
The outside enclosure is ready- checked and double checked for snakes, termites and ants supply checked. Everything is ready...  Waiting for the night- to see her in action again for further observations. 

First night in the inside enclosure.

July 4th, 2014
Due to the mostly nocturnal behavior my only 
chances to get good observations of the animal 
were during the nights. When she arrived she was 
very stressed out had clear nasal discharge and 
refused to eat anything.  She slept every day from 
12- 15 hours, but was getting more and more relaxed 
and therefore more active every night.  She started 
eating termites and beetle grubs. 

Tamanduas find amazing ways to secure 
themselves on top of the trees- here she is sleeping 
on the trees in the inside enclosure. This enclosure is 
huge, but she likes sleeping all the way on top of the 
trees in it.

Tamanduas do not have finger prints and 
 the most reliable way to tell them apart is 
by the pattern of black and pink blotches 
on their tails. So this is what it looks like:

This tamandua preferred beetle grubs over the termites.

By the 4th night, she was not only climbing the trees inside the enclosure, she was making attempts to escape.  She was able to tear apart some parts of the enclosure and even push the ceiling of it up, pulling metal staples with it.  As I was observing all those activities, I came to realization that we are dealing with a healthy animal that luckily didn't obtain any injuries and that the main concern at this point would be - eliminating the stress of captivity.  By her behavior it was clear that she was not kept as a pet, she probably was just captured and the police confiscated her just on time!
A sample of stool was delivered to the lab in Belmopan to confirm that she didn't have any domestic parasites from the time when she was in captivity in Ladyville. 

July 6th, 2013   Day of the release!

I got approval from Dr Isabelle for her release, and we went to the same location where we released  the previous tamandua. It is 2 hours deep into the mountains, away from any villages.
Release went amazingly smooth- she came out of the crate as soon as it was opened, started climbing trees and in a matter of minutes was going from tree to tree at the height of 35- 40 meters. Her movement were very precise and she was moving with ease. 

It is very difficult to keep up  with the tamandua that is in the rainforest canopy- therefore we always have 3 people at the release site- so we can observe the animal from different distances and different angles.

You get an idea of how difficult it is to keep up with watching and not losing the view of the animal,,,

on the next 2 pictures you can see her climbing and moving from one tree to another - very high up in the canopy.

At some point - we noticed another tamandua - both tamanduas first moved closer to each other on a very tall tree, and then went in different directions.  
Mario and I are convinced that the second animal was from the last year's release.  That tamandua had a  lot of very distinctive rusty color hair at the base of the tail and the pattern of the dark patches on the tail was very familiar to us as well. 

That whole area is very remote from any humans and has a lot of termites, water and trees suitable for hiding and climbing.

and here is the video of her release:


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