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Baby sloth, other new animals on display at Hilo zoo

A two-toed sloth born this summer at Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens is now on display to the public.

The baby sloth, who doesn’t yet have a name and whose gender is still unknown, was born July 25 or 26 at the zoo, zoo Director Pam Mizuno said.

The baby’s father, Sid, was born at the zoo in 2014, while its mother, Akala, was born in 2016 and came from the Honolulu Zoo.

Mizuno said Sid and Akala, who stayed with her new baby, were separated in side-by-side cages in the zoo’s quarantine area to make sure mother and baby were OK, and because they didn’t know how the male would react.

When the new baby “started eating pretty well,” they were reunited, and after a few weeks of “having them together, knowing they got along pretty well,” the sloths returned to public display on Oct. 20.

Everyone who comes to the zoo wants to see the sloths and new baby, she said.

“A lot of people come just for that.”

It’s sometimes difficult to get a peek, though, because sloths sleep most of the day and are more active at night, Mizuno said.

The new sloth will stay at the zoo, for now.

Mizuno said the zoo participates in the “species survival plan” through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the new baby may be placed at another zoo for breeding purposes.

“If, sometime in the future, they pair this offspring with someone else, this baby may go to another zoo,” she said. “It just depends.”

The baby sloth isn’t the only new addition to the zoo.

Mizuno said Friends of the Panaewa Zoo purchased a black and white male colobus monkey named Christopher, as a companion to the zoo’s female, as well as a male giant anteater named Jerry.

Those animals arrived earlier this month and are on display, but Mizuno said both are “still pretty shy and trying to get adjusted, so it’ll take a little longer for them to be more active.”

Email Stephanie Salmons at
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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