A 90-pound giant anteater named Mo greeted visitors at the grand opening of the Greenville Zoo's newest exhibit Friday.
Mo, short for Mochila, or the Spanish word for backpack, was the first resident to arrive at the zoo's South American Pampas Exhibit.
Located in the former elephant enclosure, the exhibit will eventually represent the zoo's largest mixed species exhibit focusing on a single ecosystem to date, zoo officials said.
Mo was born at the Nashville Zoo in 2011 and transferred to the Dallas Zoo in 2013. She arrived in Greenville on Sept. 9.
Never miss a local story.
Mo will be joined later this year by rheas, which are large flightless birds similar to a small ostrich. Adult rheas can be up to 67 inches tall and weigh up to 88 pounds.
The zoo plans to introduce additional South American species to the enclosure as the exhibit evolves, said Greenville Zoo Director Jeff Bullock.
"We researched and selected exhibits that we strongly felt the community would enjoy and would also continue our education and conservation efforts," Bullock said in an earlier statement.
The old turtle pond was demolished as part of the project to make way for a plaza that will serve as a gathering place for visitors as well as an extra venue for educational activities, special events and after-hours zoo rentals, zoo officials said.
Across from the new exhibit is a public art installation dedicated in memory of Joy the elephant. Joy was a loved fixture at the zoo from 1977 until her death last year. The 44-year-old African elephant died on June 14 while being transported to her new home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The zoo launched a mosaic art project soon after that as a way to honor the zoo's late elephants as well as to raise money for new exhibit space and elephant conservation efforts.
The completed mosaic is made up of nearly 1,500 tiles painted by Greenville County students, zoo officials said.
A new feature called the Wellness Walkway was also announced during Friday's grand opening ceremony.
The walkway will feature distance markers and fun animal facts throughout the zoo and is the result of a partnership between the Greenville Zoo and Pelham Medical Center, a division of Spartanburg Regional Health System, officials said.