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Adventure under the canopy

Echographie paresseux
Adventure under the canopy

Once upon a time there was a little female sloth whose lively curiosity about her environment got her into trouble. Her taste for exploration and adventure nevertheless earned her a very special place in the group of four female two-toed sloths who live in the Biodôme’s Tropical Forest. What happened was, the victim of an accident, this particular female now has steel rods in her thighbone. And here the story takes a whole different twist, since following the introduction of a new male in the group, the live-collections team at the Biodôme recently observed that she’s put on weight and that she’s due to give birth, for the first time, in late autumn!

The joys of curiosity…

The future mom was born at the Biodôme on August 5, 2008, and is now six years old. As a baby she was carried on her mother’s belly from branch to branch, as are all two-toed sloths. Like a hammock, the belly protected her from attacks and from falling, and allowed her to feed easily at her mother’s beast. When she was eight months old, during its morning rounds the live-collections team found her in distress, clutching a tree with three paws but with the fourth one hanging free. The team rescued her and she was transported immediately to the veterinary clinic, where it was determined she had a broken femur. The next day she underwent surgery at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, during which steel rods were installed to bolster the damaged bone.

Return to the canopy

In isolation at the Biodôme veterinary clinic, the little female had to learn to use her new “steel paw” to get around. The Biodôme’s little Robocop quickly earned the affection of the live-collections team. After ten months of confinement, she was finally able to reintegrate into the tropical forest canopy and resume a normal life with her peers. And it was in that canopy that she met the new male…

Renewing the species

The future baby won’t be the first sloth born in the Biodôme. Since 2002, eight offspring have joined the group, five of which were later moved to different zoos. To avoid inbreeding, the father was also moved, to the Toronto Zoo. In its desire to breed sloths, the Biodôme obtained the new male as part of the American Species Survival Plan (SSP). That sloth, nine years old and acquired from the National Aquarium in Baltimore, had been designated the best individual for breeding. After his arrival in August 2013 he was first put in quarantine at the veterinary clinic, then in semi-contact with the females in the tropical forest, and finally released in December. The rest is canopy history…

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