Researchers Gabriel Massocato, Danilo Kluyber, and Arnaud Desbiez (left to right) began the first long-term ecological study of giant armadillos in 2010.
The team hoped that by using radio transmitters, camera traps, burrow surveys, and maps, they could help pin down some information on the ecology and biology of the animal.
So far it's paid off: As of this year, Desbiez said, the team has caught eight armadillos, mapped burrows throughout a partnering cattle ranch, and placed 15 camera traps in front of more than 70 burrows. (See the best camera-trap pictures of 2012.)
"Seeing the first picture of a baby giant armadillo was one of the most exciting moments of my career as a wildlife professional," project veterinarian Danilo Kluyber said in a statement.
Added Desbiez, "Giant armadillos have a great potential for education and outreach.
"The species has a fascinating evolutionary history, exhibit distinctive adaptations, play an interesting role in the ecosystem ... and in general people have never heard of them."
The Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project is a partnership between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland; the Brazil-based Institute for Ecological Research; and Baía das Pedras, a private cattle ranch. The project relies on conservation grants from zoos in the United States, Europe, and Australia as well as other foundations and conservation institutions.