CINCINNATI, OH (June 9, 2023) — After what felt like an eternity for the sloth care team at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the long-awaited Linne’s two-toed Sloth baby has arrived! The baby, born at 7:35 p.m. on June 7, appears to be healthy and strong and is bonding with mom, Lightning behind the scenes.
“This is the first sloth baby that our team has cared for,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s manager of ambassador animals Julie Grove. “We are beyond excited that the baby is finally here! We’re ready to provide support to Lightning as she navigates being a mom.”
In 2021, Lightning gave birth to a stillborn pup, so the team was both excited and nervous about what would happen this time. Everything seems to be going well so far!
“We are monitoring mom and baby closely but remaining hands off for the most part,” said Grove. “Lightning’s maternal instincts are kicking in. We’re seeing all the behaviors that we want to see!”
During the past few weeks, the sloth care team has been putting a tiny stuffed sloth on Lightning and conditioning her to get comfortable with them removing it so she’s more relaxed when the time comes for them to handle the real baby.
The sex of the infant is not yet known, and it may be some time before that is determined. It is difficult to identify the gender of a sloth and often requires DNA testing to know for sure! Baby names are being discussed, and the Zoo will announce the selection next week.
The baby will start to sample solid foods at about ten days and will continue to nurse for about a month. After that, the youngster will cling to its mother’s belly and eat whatever she eats. It first hangs upside down on its own at 20 to 25 days.
The baby’s dad, 23-year-old Moe, moved to the P&G Discovery Forest in the Zoo’s education center when 10-year-old Lightning entered a cranky phase of her pregnancy and made it clear that it was time to separate! He is a favorite among the campers and staff that work in the building.
Linne’s two-toed sloths are not considered endangered but are becoming increasingly vulnerable due to human encroachment and activity. Funds generated through Cincinnati Zoo’s private sloth encounters are used to care for Moe and Lightning and to support conservation partner The Sloth Institute (TSI) and its efforts to protect sloths in the Costa Rican Rainforest.
Mom and baby are bonding behind the scenes, so visitors will not be able to see them for a while. Follow @CincinnatiZoo on social media to see sloth baby updates.
The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. Cincinnati Zoo members enjoy early entry at 9 a.m. DID YOU KNOW…. You pay more than $10 less per ticket, on select days, when you purchase tickets online! That’s a $40 savings for a family of 4! Start your Summer Adventure at the Cincinnati Zoo presented by Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Honda Dealers. For more information visit www.cincinnatizoo.org.