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Baby sloth on the way after slow-burn romance at Cincinnati Zoo

WCPO lightning smile.jpeg
Posted at 3:04 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 15:04:05-05

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is expecting its first-ever baby sloth this fall, zoo spokesperson Michelle Curley announced Wednesday afternoon.

Zoo workers have hoped for a baby sloth since 2016, according to interpretive animal team leader Sarah Swanson, but — no surprise — upside-down romances take time.

Eight-year-old Lightning and 21-year-old Moe were introduced in 2019 as part of a breeding program but didn’t warm up to one another until 2020, Curley said.

Lightning will be a first-time mom when she gives birth to her pup in September or October.

Curley said ultrasounds have showed her pup is healthy, and her care team is optimistic that her assertive personality will make her a good caregiver for her baby.

“She will do most of the work once the baby is born,” Swanson said. “It will latch on to her and stay attached for the next 10-12 months. Dad’s contribution is genetics.”

Curley added: “Wish we could make the pregnancy go faster, but sloths do not do anything speedily.”