Memphis Zoo is has welcomed a very special new arrival in the form of a baby Linne’s two-toed sloth.
The infant, which the team has lovingly named Lua, meaning moon in Portuguese, was born to mum Marilyn and dad Sparky on the 17th March 2017.
Sadly, although Marilyn had given birth to a number of other babies in the past, none of them had survived past infancy.
Because of this, the zookeepers made the difficult decision to take Lua away from her parents and hand-rear her themselves, in order to give her the very best chance of survival.
Thankfully, she has been thriving so far.
Matt Thompson, who is the Director of Animal Programs at Memphis zoo said, ‘we are very excited about the birth of Lua. This is a fascinating species and a genetically significant birth.’
‘We’re looking forward to this unique opportunity of hand-rearing our little one.’
When she’s not clinging to her doting keepers, Lua spends her time cuddling up to her very own stuffed elephant toy. Playing with her toy will not only help the newborn to strengthen her limbs but it will also give her the chance to mimic the relationship she would have had with mum Marilyn.
Sloths are very unique creatures in that they are arboreal, which means they live in trees, and they only ever really come down to go the toilet. As a result, they spend most of their time hanging upside down and can do pretty much everything from that position – from eating to giving birth.
In the wild, sloths are mainly found in rainforests to the north of the Amazon River, where they live off a diet of leaves, twigs and fruit.
For now, baby Lua is being bottle fed by her keepers every 2 hours and they will continue to hand-rear her for the first two years of her life before reuniting her with her family.
Watch the adorable video above to see her for yourself!