About Anteaters & Highways
Major funding provided by Fondation Segré
A Four-Year Project to Investigate and Address Giant Anteater Road Mortality
The Giant anteater is an iconic South American mammal listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The scrub forests and grasslands of the Brazilian Cerrado biome have been traditional strongholds for Giant anteaters. However, during the last 35 years, more than half of the Cerrado has been converted into pasture or agricultural lands. Worse still, remaining habitat is becoming fragmented and dissected by an ever increasing network of roads and highways—and these roadways are inflicting significant damage on local animal populations, including the Giant anteater. In fact, the Giant anteater is now among the species most killed on roadways in the Cerrado.
To address the threat, Dr. Arnaud Desbiez and the team that pioneered field research on Giant armadillos has launched Anteaters & Highways, a four-year effort to collect anteater road interaction data and help protect the species in the wild. Specifically, the research team will quantify the impact of roads on Giant anteater populations and evaluate their effect on the species’ behavior, population structure, and health. Likewise, the team will investigate whether roads in the Cerrado are affecting anteater population persistence by acting as population sinks and barriers to gene flow.
Research findings will be used to develop landscape and road management guidelines and mitigate the impact of road mortality on anteater populations in the Cerrado.