THE birth of a baby giant anteater has brought some early Christmas joy to Dudley Zoo and Castle.

The pup was born to four-year-old mum, Lyra, and six-year-old dad, Bubbles, on Sunday afternoon in front of surprised visitors.

Section leader Sam Grove said: “It’s wonderful to end the year with this happy news, especially just before Christmas and we’ll have to let Santa know there’s an extra animal to add to his gift list.

“The baby is their second offspring together, so mum is already experienced and getting on with things and the pup appears healthy and alert, which is great news.”

The zoo’s giant anteaters are part of a carefully managed European Endangered Species Programme, with Bubbles and Lyra’s first offspring, Gizmo, having relocated to Edinburgh Zoo earlier this year.

Listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red list, the species, which is native to central and South America, is under threat mainly due to habitat destruction.