Cleveland Metroparks Zoo recently announced the birth of a Sloth Bear cub to 4-year-old mom, Shiva, and 13-year-old dad, Balawat. The cub is the first Sloth Bear born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 30 years.
The cub was born on January 14 and is the first offspring for both mom and dad. The cub currently weighs approximately six pounds and is learning how to walk. Both mom and cub are doing well but will den for several weeks before they will be visible to the public.
The cub’s gender has not yet been determined, but Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will continue to provide updates on the Sloth Bear family and details on the public’s chance to help name the cub.
Sloth Bears (Melursus ursinus) can weigh up to 300 pounds when fully grown. The species has several distinctive features and behaviors. Their unique flexible snouts act as a vacuum cleaner in sucking up termites or grubs from trees. Aside from insects, Sloth Bears also eat fruits, flowers, sugar cane and honey. Young Sloth Bears will ride on their mother’s back, by clinging to their long fur, till up to six months of age.
Sloth Bears are listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is currently supporting a project to protect Sloth Bears in Nepal, where populations have declined dramatically in recent decades due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and poaching.