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Sloths Coming To Louisville Zoo This Spring

Young Hoffmann's two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) on the tree
kungverylucky - stock.adobe.com
Young Hoffmann's two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) on the tree

This spring the Louisville Zoo plans to open an exhibit featuring some of nature's most proficient loafers.

Some call them sluggish, others call them slowpokes, but the Louisville Zoo hopes to turn a pair of two-toed sloths into stars.

“l’ve been in this position for the last five years and far and away the species that people most requested to see at the zoo are sloths," said Steven Taylor, assistant director of education, conservation and collections.

The zoo acquired Sunni, a 2-year-old female, and Sebastian, a 1.5-year-old male, last October. The pair are currently under quarantine waiting for their new digs to be complete.

Taylor said the zoo is renovating the old snow leopard enclosure to make it more comfortable for the sloths, who are used to warm, humid conditions like the rain forests they ordinarily call home.

"So the exhibit is under construction right now and my guess would be probably some time in early May, though we don't have a hard date just yet," Taylor said.

And if all goes well and the companions continue a courtship, Taylor hopes the sloths might make their own slow-moving small fries.

"Hopefully down the road we will probably look at some point in time at trying to have babies," Taylor said.

The zoo is searching for new streams of revenue amid rising operational costs and pension bills. Employee health care costs are increasing while revenues fell in 2018.

Zoo Director John Walczak said they've spoken with three outside groups interested in taking over operations from the city, and those discussions are ongoing.

Spokeswoman Kyle Shepherd said the zoo is always looking for new ways to provide memorable experiences for families.

“We’re always trying to look for new exhibits that engage our guests,” she said.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.

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