City of Idaho Falls News

Posted on: March 15, 2017

It’s a Boy! Idaho Falls Zoo Announces Birth of Sloth Bear - March 15

Visitors to the Idaho Falls Zoo are in store for a very special treat this season.  For only the second time in zoo history, a sloth bear cub was born at the Idaho Falls Zoo.

The adorable male sloth bear cub was born on November 18, 2016, completely hairless and weighed about as much as a can of soda.  When full-grown, he will weigh over 300 pounds!  

Since his birth, the cub has been under the constant care of his mother, Priya, as well as the Idaho Falls Zoo animal care and veterinary staff to ensure he remained in good health.  Click image below to view a video of the cub's adorable antics.

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This is the third cub and second pregnancy for mother Priya.  Mick, the cub’s father, is in a separate area from Priya and her cub as adult male bears have the potential to be aggressive towards cubs.  

The bears will alternate time on exhibit when the Idaho Falls Zoo opens in April. You might see the cub riding on his mother’s back, as sloth bears are the only bear known to carry their young on their backs.

Because the Idaho Falls Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the management of the sloth bears is advised by a national Sloth Bear Species Survival Plan developed and reviewed annually by a team of experts from across the country. This program helps monitor sloth bears at AZA accredited zoos to ensure their wellbeing, genetic health and survival. The birth of this new cub is a step forward for the long-term health of the sloth bear species.  Sloth bears are listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.  Human population growth causing higher demands for natural resources is the biggest threat to the wild sloth bear populations.  Sloth bears live predominately in India.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park:   With more than 330 individual animals representing 130 species from all around the globe, the Idaho Falls Zoo has the largest collection of animals in the state of Idaho and is considered the “Best Little Zoo in the West.” Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo participates in 44 national Species Survival Plans. Learn more on our website.

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