LAMONT, Fla. — North Florida Wildlife Center welcomed its new resident all the way from Guyana.
The newly named Bumi is a male giant anteater weighing in at 51 pounds and measuring five and a half to six feet long.
NFWC Executive Director Ryan David Reines explained that Bumi picked his own name after staff put in their favorite names and then it was narrowed down to three options.
After some deliberation and knocking over another name, Bumi selected his new identity.
Bumi, who was born on June 15, 2021 in captivity, lives in a replica grassland and spends his day taking dips in his tub, eating a hand-crafted meal and, as one would expect, digging into the ground for ants.
When Reines first heard about Bumi coming to the United States, he knew his nonprofit facility would love him, but had some reservations.
"My initial thought was 'Wouldn't that be amazing? But there's no way," Reines said.
His concern was how his nonprofit facility would be able to come up with the funding.
However, after a meeting with management, staff came together and pledged to do everything they could and now Bumi is in his new home.
Giant anteaters are endangered in Central and South America. The hope is that, once mature enough, Bumi will get a mate.
Guests visiting NFWC can get up close and personal Bumi through the new Anteater Encounter.
This experience allows guests pet Bumi and give him treats from an acrylic tube to see his two foot long tongue in action.
Proceeds from the encounter help fundraise for NFWC and the Anteaters and Highways Project, which works to save giant anteaters in the wild.
The North Florida Wildlife Center is located in Lamont, Florida at 1386 Cook Road. Hours of operation are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday and currently its recommended that guests secure reservation online for their visit.
More information about volunteer opportunities and NFWC's conservation efforts can be found on their website.
All photos and videos are courtesy of North Florida Wildlife Center.