Saturday 18 November 2017

Sid the sloth slowly hand-reared

Sid the sloth is slowly being hand-reared by keepers at Bristol Zoo after his mother became ill
Sid the sloth is slowly being hand-reared by keepers at Bristol Zoo after his mother became ill

Keepers are giving round-the-clock treatment to the latest addition to a zoo's population after her mother became ill and could not produce enough milk to feed her.

Sidone, a two-toed sloth known as Sid for short, is now enjoying life in the slow lane as she is hand-reared by keepers at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The five-week-old baby sloth was born at the zoo's Twilight World to mother, Light Cap, and weighed just 1.1lb at birth.

Light Cap was taken ill shortly after giving birth and had to receive veterinary treatment, after which she was no longer producing enough milk to feed her baby. But a team of keepers intervened to hand-rear Sid to save her.

The youngster, one the slowest-moving mammals in the world, is believed to be a girl, but the zoo said the sex of sloths is very difficult to determine.

Now Sid is being looked after in a room behind the scenes of Twilight World and growing well.

Rob Rouse, the zoo's overseer of mammals, said: "Four keepers have been intensively caring for Sid since she was three days old and we're thrilled that she is doing so well. She is strong, healthy and very inquisitive, and she loves people."

Sid has needed a lot of care from her keepers, including feeding every three to four hours with a combination of puppy milk formula and goat's milk and almost daily checks by the zoo's vet.

"When she was tiny, Sid needed feeding every two hours, day and night, so we took it in turns to feed her through the night," Mr Rouse added. "It has been a real team effort as we have had to work closely with each other and with the vets to look after Sid."

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, and would normally be found in the treetops of the rainforests of Central and South America. Although not currently at risk from extinction in the wild, they are being affected by habitat destruction and climate change. Bristol Zoo is part of a pan-European breeding programme for the slow-moving primates.

Press Association

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