Birth of baby sloth celebrated at Hattiesburg Zoo

From Hattiesburg Convention Commission Public Information

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Linnaeus sloths at the Hattiesburg Zoo took their grand, old time announcing their latest addition to the family.

But extenuating circumstances had to be dealt with before introducing the fifth member of the Hattiesburg tribe of sloths and its first male offspring.

On July 5, the zoo’s female, two-toed sloth, Mo, gave birth a male baby that was dubbed Lumpawaroo, a name almost immediately shortened to “Lumpy.”

Lumpy became Mo’s third live birth at the Hattiesburg Zoo, with the little lad joining his older sisters, Maple and Mochi, in the family tree.

But the newborn and his mother ran into complications shortly after his birth.

“When little Lumpy was born, the keepers noticed pretty quickly that he wasn’t nursing,” said Kristen Moore, animal curator the Hattiesburg Zoo.

“We waited a few hours to see if he would latch on, but he never did and we discovered that Mo was not producing milk.”

At that point, the Zoo’s animal-care team intervened.

After contacting other zoos and sharing notes and research, it was determined that goat’s milk was the best supplement to use for Lumpy. Sloths are naturally lactose intolerant, and goat’s milk contains the least amount of lactose.

Animal keepers syringe-fed Lumpy every two hours while keeping him with his mother.

“By keeping Lumpy with his mother, the two were able to maintain the mother/baby bond, which is so important,” Moore said.

Once Lumpy maintained and began gaining weight, the animal care team’s attention moved to determine how to help Mo produce milk.

“We were able to give Mo an injection of a medication that quickly increased her milk production,” Moore said. “Soon after, Lumpy began nursing from his mother.”

Both mother and son are in fine enough fettle now that mother and child will make their public debut at the zoo Saturday

“I want to commend our keepers and veterinary staff, who did an outstanding job of observing a potential problem and quickly intervening so that baby Lumpy remained healthy in the company of his mother,” said Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which manages the Hattiesburg Zoo.

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