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An update on Sid the baby sloth at Bristol Zoo Gardens - 17/08/11

Image of Sid the sloth at Bristol ZooBristol Zoo’s baby sloth is now nearly four months old and growing well.

The youngster, who has been named after Sid the sloth in the popular Ice Age movie, is being cared for round the clock by a team of dedicated keepers at Bristol Zoo.

She was born in Twilight World to mother, Light Cap, in late April, weighing about just 500g (1.1lbs) at birth. But Light Cap was taken ill shortly after giving birth and so Sid had to be looked after by keepers.

Despite making a full recovery, Light Cap was no longer producing enough milk to feed her baby and keepers had no choice but to intervene to hand-rear Sid in order to save her.

Keepers had their work cut out for the first few months of Sid’s life, as she needed feeding every three hours, including through the night, with a combination of puppy milk formula and goat’s milk.

She also had checks by the zoo vet on an almost daily basis to make sure she was developing well. The hard work has paid off as Sid has developed into a strong, healthy and inquisitive youngster, with a particular penchant for green beans.

Image of Sid the sloth hugging bambooSenior keeper, Karla Tucker, is one of the team of keepers who has raised her. She said: “We are really pleased with Sid’s progress. She is very bright, alert and active, and is now four times the weight she was at birth.

“We now feed her seven times a day, between 6am and 8pm, with milk formula and vegetables such as cooked sweet potato and green beans, which she loves. She still goes home with a keeper every night so that we can keep a close eye on her and give her evening feeds.”

She added: “It will be a while yet before she goes on show with her parents in Twilight World, as she is still very dependent on us to look after her. She is a fantastic animal and she loves people. It is lovely to have this rare opportunity to hand-rear a baby sloth, although we only hand-rear animals as a last resort.”

To watch a photo slideshow of recent photos of Sid, click here: http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/twilight-world. To see a short video of Sid receiving one of her feeds when she was just five weeks old, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smN7AQVTvFo

Sidone, and her parents Light Cap and Rio, are a species known as ‘Linne’s two toed sloths’, also known as the southern two-toed sloth. Bristol Zoo is part of a European zoo co-ordinated breeding programme for this species.

Sloths are native to South America, and are found in Venezuela, the Guianas, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, north of the Amazon River.

Despite not being at risk from extinction in the wild, habitat destruction and climate change are the biggest threats facing Linne’s two-toed sloths. They are also hunted as food and for their claws and fur, which are used to make necklaces and saddlecloths.

To find out more about Bristol Zoo Gardens, visit the website at www.bristolzoo.org.ukor phone 0117 974 7300.

ENDS

For press enquiries please contact Bristol Zoo’s press office:

Lucy Parkinson, T: 0117 974 7306 or E: lparkinson@bristolzoo.org.uk

Vanessa Hollier, T: 0117 974 7309 or E: vhollier@bristolzoo.org.uk

 

Notes to the Editor:

Sloth facts

  • They are related to armadillos and anteaters
  • There are five species of sloths, in two families – either two toed or three toed sloths. The sloths at Bristol Zoo are Linne’s two toed sloths
  • They live in the treetops of the rainforest of Middle America and the Amazon rainforest.
  • They can grow up to 50 cm (1,8 ft) and can weigh up to 9 kgs and have thick hair to help protect them from rainwater
  • They live solitary lives, only coming together to mate.
  • They spend their whole life hanging upside down in trees and use their long fingernails to grip.
  • They move very slowly as they have a low metabolism
  • They eat mostly leaves
  • They almost never walk on the ground because they would be easily preyed upon, although they do descend to the ground to pass urine and faeces and usually do this every three to four days. 
  • Sloths are extraordinarily good swimmers.
  • They cannot see or hear very well, so their sense of smell and touch is very distinctive.
  • They give birth only once a year (after a 6-11 month pregnancy), and even give birth while in a hanging position.
  • Baby sloths stay on their mother’s belly until they become independent.
  • In the wild sloths usually live up to 12-years-old; in zoos or with human help they can live for up to 30 years.
  • In the wild sloths’ coats are tinged a green colour due to being full of insects and butterfly grubs which help to camouflage it from predators.   

 

Bristol Zoo Gardens

  • Bristol Zoo is open from 9am every day except Christmas Day. 
  • Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on income from visitors and supporters to continue its important work. 
  • In 2011 Bristol Zoo celebrates its 175th anniversary and wants to do more than celebrate.
  • Over that past 175 years, the Zoo has brought six generations of Bristolians closer to wildlife, helped save over 175 species from extinction, established over 30 field conservation and research programmes all over the world, showed 40 millionschool-aged children the wonder of nature and given more than 90 million visitors a wonderful day out.
  • Throughout 2011 we’re bring people, businesses, charities and wildlife together to share amazing experiences that raise awareness and funds to save threatened wildlife and places. To find out more, visit www.bristolzoo.org.uk/whats-on
  • Bristol Zoo has supported and been actively in gorilla conservation in Cameroon since 1998.
  • Throughout 2011 we will be focusing our efforts on raising funds and awareness in support of gorilla conservation.
  • Throughout 2011 Bristol Zoo will support theEuropean Association of Zoos and Aquaria Ape Campaign.The campaign aims to make a significant and lasting contribution to the continued survival of apes and their habitats, and is being led by Dr Bryan Carroll, the Director of Bristol Zoo.
  • To find out more about the EAZA Ape Campaign visit the Zoo website at www.bristolzoo.org.uk/conservation-campaigns.
  • Bristol Zoo is involved with more than 100 co-ordinated breeding programmes for threatened wildlife species. 
  • Itemploys over 150 full and part-time staff to care for the animals and run a successful visitor attraction to support its conservation and education work. 
  • Bristol Zoo supports – through finance and skill sharing - 15 projects in the UK and abroad that conserveand protectsome of the world’s most endangered species.
  • In 2010 Bristol Zoo Gardens set up a Conservation Fund to raise vital funds to help care for threatened animals and plants – both in the Zoo and through the conservation work we do in the UK and around the world.
  • Bristol Zoo Gardens is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. BIAZA represents more than 90 member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums.