New Brunswick

Calgary's flood-displaced anteaters arrive at Moncton zoo

Anteaters fleeing the Calgary floods are settling into their new home in Moncton.
A bashful anteater rests in a bucket at the Moncton Zoo. (CBC)

Anteaters fleeing the Calgary floods are settling into their new home in Moncton.

Nezzie and Eliza, two giant anteaters, were flown across the country after the June disaster wrecked their homes in the Calgary Zoo.

Bruce Dugan, the general manager of the Magnetic Hill Zoo, said WestJet was very accommodating.

"They had someone go from Toronto down to Hamilton to meet them on the flight from Calgary to make sure the transition from one flight to the next, from Calgary to Moncton, was smooth," he said.

"They arrived here last evening at 4:30 and went and picked them up."

Nezzie and Eliza are the only two of their kind in Canada, so their arrival is creating a lot of excitement.

"Awesome!" said zoo-goer Sam Smith. "I think it's going to be cool because there will be new animals at the zoo."

The Moncton zoo had to make big changes to prepare for the female vermilingua, the worm-tongued mammals known for eating ants and termites.

Staff are refurbishing an old deer pen by adding fencing and an overhang so the anteaters can't climb out. Nezzie and Eliza are spending their first days in New Brunswick in quarantine.

"Once the keepers are very happy with how they're reacting, once they're comfortable, then we'll open the doors and offer them limited access to the outside," said zookeeper Jamie Carson.

The anteaters were originally coming to stay for a few years, but now will be permanent residents in New Brunswick.

Calgary macaws arrived last week

The duo will have some company from Calgary. Some hyacinth macaws arrived from Calgary last week. They've settled in and are expected to be on display for the long weekend.

The Calgary Zoo was badly hit by the June flooding. The Bow River flooded the 32-acre island section of the zoo and parts of the Canadian Wilds exhibit in the northern part of the zoo.

The gushing water damaged animal enclosures, botanical exhibits and 40 buildings. Nearly 150 tropical fish — tilapia and piranha — perished and four peacocks and a pot-bellied pig are missing. The damage and lost revenue is estimated at $60 million. More than 30 animals have been sent to other zoos.

The Calgary Zoo partially re-opened last month. Staff expect to open the full zoo by December.