Anteaters and Highways Project

Ranging from Honduras to northern Argentina, the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) has a wide distribution through Central and South America. However, their numbers are in decline and the species is commonly reported in road-kill surveys.

Long-term studies of giant anteaters are lacking in Brazil making the implementation of conservation actions for this species difficult. In Mato Grosso do Sul, road-kill is presumed to be the second highest threat to the species after habitat loss. We've been working with Bandeiras & Rodovias led by Dr Arnaud Desbiez, RZSS Regional Coordinator for Latin America to get a better understanding of the situation.

Giant anteater

The Anteaters and Highways project aims to assess the impact of road-kill on the species and intends to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between giant anteaters and roads. Human beliefs and superstitions are also taken into account in this project as the species is known to receive a negative response from the public which could explain the high number of road-kills recorded.

The project’s main objectives include:

  • Quantifying road mortalities and predicting future giant anteater vehicle collisions across the Cerrado region
  • Assessing the influence of roads on the individuals’ movement and behaviour but also on their health and body condition
  • Understanding the motorists’ perception and attitudes to the species

The data recorded could help delineating important guideline to design new roads as well to upgrade existing ones, minimizing the impact for this species.

Project partners

IPE  Meio Ambiente  Bandeiras & RodoviasRZSSZCOG

Key Facts

30%
Giant anteater populations have decreased by more than 30% in recent years
Threats to the species include habitat loss, land conversion and poaching, but also road crossing
2m
The giant anteater is the largest species of anteaters and can reach over two meters

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