Staff and visitors are keeping their fingers crossed that love might be in the air following the recent arrival of a female Linne’s two-toed sloth.
The zoos’ male sloth, ‘Santos’, arrived a little under a year ago having been born in a zoo on the Isle of Wight and since his arrival, the zoo, in cooperation with the European Breeding Programme coordinator for this species, have been searching for a suitable companion.
Zoo staff were delighted when towards the end of 2016, the coordinator announced that she had found a suitable young mate for Santos and put the zoo in contact with Aalborg Zoo, Denmark.
Preparations were made for the new female’s arrival and after much anticipation, 18 month old ‘Vlo’ arrived at Banham to join her prospective mate. Keepers gave Vlo a few days of peace and quiet whilst she settled into her new home before allowing her and Santos access to the same areas in the tropical house.
In true sloth style, their keepers reported that the introduction was a bit of an anti-climax, sloth are well known for their slow and lumbering lifestyle and spend a lot of their time being fairly inactive. Once the pair were given access to the entire house their keepers suspect they didn’t actually manage to meet one another for a number of days as when one was active invariably the other would be asleep.
Their keepers have since seen them interact and all the interactions between the new pair seen so far has been positive so keepers hope that it won’t be too long before the pair will start to breed.
Sloths come from South America (specifically Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela and Bolivia) and are found in the canopies of tropical moist lowland and montane forest. Although not endangered in the wild they are a very charismatic species and help the zoo to promote wildlife conservation through engagement with the animals in its care.