Cincinnati Zoo welcomes first-ever baby sloth — welcome to the world

The Cincinnati Zoo is celebrating an adorable new arrival: their first-ever baby sloth, who is winning hearts everywhere.

According to a press release, the Linne’s two-toed Sloth baby was born on the evening of June 7 to mom Lightning. They reported that the newborn is “healthy and strong” and bonding with mom.

Cincinnati Zoo/Press Release

“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.”

Lightning’s first pregnancy in 2021 ended in heartbreak after she gave birth to a stillborn pup: at the time the zoo said they were “devastated by the outcome” and that it was an “incredibly tough day.”

But now, Lightning finally has a healthy baby, making history as the first baby sloth ever born at the Cincinnati Zoo.

“We are monitoring mom and baby closely but remaining hands off for the most part,” Grove said of the new arrival. “Lightning’s maternal instincts are kicking in. We’re seeing all the behaviors that we want to see!”

Sloths may move slow, but they grow up fast: the zoo says the baby will start sampling solid food at about ten days while nursing for about a month. The baby will hang upside down on its own at 20-25 days old.

The baby’s father is 23-year-old male Moe, who was moved to the zoo’s education center when Lightning “entered the cranky phase of her pregnancy.” Lightning and her baby have been bonding in private behind the scenes.

Linne’s two-toed sloths are not an endangered species, but according to the zoo they have become increasingly vulnerable to human encroachment and activity.

What an adorable baby sloth! We’re sure Lightning is going to be a great mom. Welcome to the world, little one ❤️

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