According to a recent press release from Diane Nahabedian, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Roger Williams Park Zoo, a baby sloth was born on Wednesday, May 13.

“The entire family at RWPZ is happy to announce the birth of a Linne’s two-toed sloth to mom Fiona and dad Wesley. The family resides in the Faces of the Rainforest exhibit."

“This is such thrilling news,” says the Zoo’s executive director Dr. Jeremy Goodman. “We have been monitoring Fiona’s progress since mid-autumn, and to see this little healthy sloth was exciting for all of us at the Zoo.”

Dr. Michael McBride, director of veterinary services at Roger Williams Park Zoo, says, “The baby is alert and active. This morning it weighed 644 grams (a little less than 1.5 pounds) which is quite large compared to other newborn sloths. The baby is nursing and experimenting with eating steamed green beans. Fiona was having trouble during labor, but the Zoo veterinary and animal keeper teams were able to assist with the birth. The newborn was able to go back with Fiona immediately after birth and Fiona seems to be taking excellent care of the newborn.”

Roger Williams Park Zoo
Roger Williams Park Zoo

According to the release, sloths are born covered in fur with the ability to climb. “They have a strong natural grip instinct that allows them to cling to their mother's back or belly as she moves through the trees. The baby will cling to its mother’s belly most of the first few months of life and begin to munch on leaves at about two months old. Mom may feed the offspring leaves that it has partially chewed directly from her mouth to get things started. In the wild, sloth offspring will stay with its mother for the first year or two of life, and then will move to its own territory, usually just a tree or two away.”

I first caught a glimpse of the new addition on the zoo’s Facebook page. I saw this lump of fur getting stroked by someone holding a towel and feared that this little one would not rouse, but they finally woke up. “At first the baby was not moving, but after being warmed finally responded.” Seeing the baby cuddle the mom is absolutely precious and I’m so happy that mom and baby are doing well.

The zoo released a video of the baby's first few minutes of life.

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