Photo credit: Pete Oxford
The Silky Anteater, Cyclopes didactylus, is classified as ‘least concern’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. This is the smallest of all anteaters, weighing only 300 grammes as an adult. It is extremely difficult to observe in the wild because it is only active at night and moves through the canopy without descending to the ground.
The Silky Anteater is distributed throughout the Amazonian rainforest. An isolated, genetically distinct population exists in the northeastern Atlantic forest of Brazil and is regionally classified as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’. This population is particularly threatened by habitat destruction, as deforestation is advancing at a fast pace. Locals also frequently capture Silky Anteaters to keep them as pets.
Field research has been initiated by the Brazilian NGO Projeto Tamandua to obtain basic information on this poorly known species and to promote its conservation. Education programmes are urgently needed to stop its use as a pet, and effective conservation of its natural forest habitat is the key to ensuring the long-term survival of this species.
To learn more about the Silky Anteater, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.