OKC Zoo’s Giant Anteater, Kallie, Passes Away

27-year-old, Kallie, was the world’s oldest living Giant Anteater in Human Care.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of our beloved 27-year-old female Giant anteater, Kallie, at approximately 11:30 a.m., on August 23, 2017. For the past two months, she was being monitored by the Zoo’s vet care team for age-related ailments.  Most recently, Kallie began showing signs of decreased mobility due to severe arthritis throughout her joints. In order to ensure that Kallie was not experiencing discomfort, her caretakers transferred her to the Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital on August 23 for a wellness exam and quality of life assessment. There, the veterinary team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Kallie. The veterinary team will conduct a necropsy (animal autopsy) to determine exact cause of death.

Kallie was born on September 8, 1989, and arrived at the OKC Zoo in 1996 from the Phoenix Zoo. Kallie had a strong bond with her caretakers and especially enjoyed enrichment sessions. Of all of the different forms of enrichment she encountered, she most enjoyed the refreshing spritz of her water sprinkler and the opportunity to forage for ants with her puzzle feeder. Those who visited Kallie often enjoyed marveling at her unique appearance.

The Giant anteater is one of three species of anteaters, which also includes the Silky anteater and the Lesser anteater. True to its name, the Giant anteater is the largest of the three species. The species can weigh anywhere from 60 to 140 pounds, with males weighing the most. They are known for their elongated snout and long, narrow tongue. Giant anteaters are not an endangered species, however, the species is threatened by habitat loss and hunting, both for food and as pests.

At 27 years of age, Kallie was the world’s oldest Giant anteater living in human care, which was a testament to the exceptional care she received from her care team. The median life expectancy for a female Giant anteater is 11 years. Throughout the course of her life, Kallie brought joy and wonder to many individuals – inspiring them to cherish and protect her extraordinary species. She will be missed dearly.

Jennifer Jeffords, animal caretaker

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