Sloths are one of the most beloved animals in the world, and there is a new baby that is making everybody swoon. On March 17, the Memphis Zoo welcomed an adorable bundle of joy named Lua, a Linne’s two-toed sloth. Lua, whose arrival is the first successful sloth birth at the zoo, means “moon” in Portuguese. Born to parents Marilyn and Sparky, Lua is being hand raised and bottle-fed by her caretakers to help increase her chance of survival.
To make things even more adorable, Lua was gifted with a plush elephant toy for her to snuggle in the absence of her mother. Her caretakers explain that gripping their mother (or a toy in Lua’s case) is essential in the physical development of sloths because it helps strengthen their arms. Strong arms are critical for survival in the wild because sloths spend almost all of their time high up in trees feasting on rich vegetation.
The birth of Lua is a huge milestone in the protection and preservation of her species. Lua now adds valuable genes to the breeding population of Linne’s in human care, and will inspire the thousands of people who visit the zoo to learn and care about threatened species. The biggest threats to sloths are climate change and rainforest destruction. Congratulations to the Memphis Zoo on this important birth!