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Rare animal sightings spark hope following giant rewilding program in Argentina: 'We shouted and cried when we saw it'

"It took a few days to grasp the importance of this record."

"It took a few days to grasp the importance of this record."

Photo Credit: iStock

Hope is on the horizon for giant anteaters in Brazil, thanks to an ambitious rewilding project just across the border, according to Mongabay News.

After being considered regionally extinct for over a century, giant anteaters have been spotted roaming once again in Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul state. Scientists have concluded these returned natives ventured over from Argentina's Ibera Park, where conservationists have released around 110 rescued and captive-bred anteaters since 2007.

"We shouted and cried when we saw it," said Fabio Mazim, an ecologist from the nonprofit Pro-Carnívoros Institute. "It took a few days to grasp the importance of this record. A sighting of a giant anteater was never, ever expected."

Anteaters play a key role in their ecosystems, keeping insect numbers in check, creating watering holes as they dig, and serving as prey for big cats. So, their return to Brazil doesn't just mean more adorable snouts snuffling around — it means bringing back a vital player that can help restore nature's balance in areas where they've long been missing.

The success of rewilding programs like Ibera Park's shows the power of dedication and cooperation to bring species back from the brink. And with habitat loss, vehicle collisions, and poaching still major threats to anteaters, the work to protect them is far from over.

"The giant anteater returning to Rio Grande do Sul shows the success of the work done in Argentina and how it's viable, possible, and important to do rewilding and fauna reintroduction projects," said Mazim.

According to Arnaud Desbiez, founder of Brazil's Wild Animal Conservation Institute: "It's not an easy world for giant anteaters. There are so many threats these animals have to face."

But as rewilding successes continue to add up, there's hope that with ongoing collaboration and public support, anteaters and other struggling species will keep marching into the wild where they belong.

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