After waiting four months for its new Sloth Bear cub to emerge from the den, staff at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo gave the cub its first checkup. They learned that the cub is a female!
Born on January 14, the cub is the first to be born at the zoo in 30 years. The cub’s parents are mom Shiva and dad Balawat, and this is the first cub for both. ZooBorns reported on the cub’s birth here.
Fans are invited to help name the little cub by visiting the Sloth Bear habitat at the zoo, or by going online and make a donation to the Future for Wildlife Fund. You can choose one of the following names by midnight on May 27:
- Lali, meaning darling
- Nisha, meaning night
- Shala, an homage to mom Shiva and dad Balawat
The names reflect the native home of Sloth Bears in India.
The cub stays close to Shiva for now, and she will ride on mom’s back until she is about six months old. As an adult, the cub will weigh around 300 pounds.
Sloth Bears have flexible snouts which help to suck up grubs and termites from trees. Sloth Bears also feed on fruits, flowers, sugar cane, and honey.
Sloth Bears are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Factors such as habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict threaten Sloth Bears’ survival. The zoo participates in a project to protect Sloth Bears in Nepal, where populations have plummeted in recent years. Donations made through the naming contest go toward this project.