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ohann Oswald - was-fuers-auge / Getty
Everybody loves baby animals. And on the scale of General Animal Cuteness, it's also pretty darn hard not to love sloths (just ask Kristen Bell). So you can just imagine all the excitement over at the Honolulu Zoo right now as they welcome an adorable new baby sloth to the world!
The newest little one is the product of Harriet, a Linne's two-toed sloth who has been a favorite attraction at the zoo for years. This is 7-year-old Harriet's fifth baby, all with her long-time breeding partner, the (much older!) 18-year-old Quando.
This is especially good news, considering how difficult it can be for sloths to reproduce in captivity. Much like pandas, a notoriously difficult species to breed in captivity, two and three-toed sloths have consistently given zookeepers fits. For example, despite plenty of effort on the part of zookeepers, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. hasn't had a baby sloth born there since 1984.
That makes pairs like Quando and Harriet especially valuable members of any zoo habitat. Not only do they help keep populations growing, but they can also provide sloths to zoos who don't already have one of their own: two of Harriet's previous four offspring now live in wildlife education facilities outside of Hawaii.
Because the reproductive systems of animals can still prove to be murky to even the best trained professionals, zoo births can sometimes come as a total surprise, like the arrival of a baby black rhino at the Wichita Zoo earlier in 2021. Thankfully, Hawaii zookeepers had plenty of time to prepare for Harriet's new baby, even allowing interested members of the public to view the birth in real time on the zoo's "sloth cam"—which afforded zoo fans to welcome the new baby to the world right away.
Now that the adorable new member of Harriet's family has arrived, she'll join her slow-moving friends in hanging upside down from trees and munching on leaves. Baby sloths usually stay with their mothers for the first year of their lives, which should allow visitors to the zoo plenty of time to say hello. Can't make it to the Hawaiian islands for a visit? Tune into the Honolulu Zoo's YouTube channel for a peek at one of two "sloth cams" streaming live 24/7.