A Sloth Bear cub is alive today because keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo decided to hand-raise the cub rather than leave her with her mother, Khali. The cub is now active and growing thanks to the round-the-clock care she receives from zoo keepers.
The photos below chronicle the cub’s growth from two weeks old to two-and-a-half months old.
Photo Credits: Smithsonsian's National Zoo, Courtney Janney, Connor Mallon
The cub was one of three born to Khali on December 29, 2013, and she is the only cub that survived longer than seven days. Khali ingested the first cub about 20 minutes after she gave birth. It is not uncommon for carnivores, including Sloth Bears, to ingest stillborn cubs, or even live cubs if they or the mother are compromised in some way. Khali, an experienced mom, appeared attentive to her two remaining cubs, and keepers monitored her closely via closed-circuit cams before, during and after the births. However, she ingested a second cub seven days later and spent several hours away from her remaining cub in the early morning hours of January 6, which is not normal for a Sloth Bear with a newborn cub.
Read more and see additional photos below.