A popular Isle of Wight zoo has announced with ‘deep sadness’ the death of its female giant anteater, Alves.

In February, Alves – at Amazon World Zoo Park in Arreton – was found to have passed away overnight despite showing no signs of ill health before her death.

The Amazon World team said Alves's death was a ‘huge shock’ to the entire animal care team, especially to the keepers who had ‘the privilege of working alongside her’.

Isle of Wight County Press: Amazon World's giant anteater, AlvesAmazon World's giant anteater, Alves (Image: Amazon World Zoo Park)

A postmortem was carried out and confirmed that Alves had undiagnosed liver cancer, and sudden complications resulted in a heart attack.

Alves showed no signs of having anything wrong, spending the days before her death exploring her enclosure in the early February sunshine, just like her keepers were used to, the zoo has said. 

Alves moved to Amazon World in March 2013 from Colchester Zoo and soon became very popular amongst the animal-keeping staff.

Posting on Facebook, Amazon World said: “Her appetite was as great as ever, and her weight remained stable. This brings us some comfort that she didn’t suffer leading up to her sudden passing.

“Her sudden passing means that we temporarily house no giant anteaters at the zoo. 

“Giant anteaters are part of an international studbook programme, and the studbook keeper has been informed of her passing.

“We thank you for your support during this difficult time.”