Giant anteater mum and baby enjoy bath time at Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Bath time is proving big fun for a giant anteater and her new baby as they plunged into public life at the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
A pre-May Day Bank Holiday morning shower was the perfect opportunity for mum Tammy and female pup Licki Minaj to take a wash and enjoy the warm water provided by their keepers.
Lively Licki couldn’t resist climbing over Tammy and making the most of their play session at the park in Branton, near Doncaster.
The playful pup took a while to get used to the water but now loves the shower sessions with her mum and has started to display her climbing skills as she grows more confident.
Her surprise arrival in January has been a huge boost for the endangered species who will be a visitors’ favourite over the fun-filled May Bank Holiday weekend at the park.
Tammy, who arrived at the park from a zoo in France in October, shocked staff when she gave birth to Licki Minaj earlier this year.
“No-one here or at Tammy’s previous home was aware of her pregnancy but it was a fantastic surprise,” said head of animals Matthew Hartley.
“The birth of Licki Minaj was a fantastic and great boost for these endangered animals.
“Anteaters carry their babies on their backs for quite a long time and Licki has been hitched onto Tammy since she was born.
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“We encourage all visitors to come down and visit the pair this May Bank Holiday.”
Licki is not fully weaned yet but she has started to try different foods and has been seen to enjoy tucking into avocado as she puts on weight and gets used to life at the park.
Tammy was at Zoo de la Barben, in Provence, before coming to YWP as a potential mate to Niki who has been at the park for three years as part of an international breeding programme.
Giant anteaters are one of the most endangered mammals in central and South America, where they are hunted for their meat and are struggling with disappearing habitat.
“All our visitors absolutely love the female pup’s name. We ran a competition on social media to ask guests for suggestions beginning with this year’s letter ‘L’, and Licki Minaj seemed most fitting,” added Matthew.
YWP, which opened in 2009, is the UK’s No. 1 walkthrough wildlife adventure and is home to some of the world’s most endangered and beautiful animals, including Amur leopards and tigers, giant otters and polar bears.
It is a major force in animal conservation and welfare and supports projects around the world that are protecting at risk species.