We exhibited two-toed sloths in our early years, but without much success. In the early 1930s, we managed to keep a mother and her baby alive for three years.
Today, a Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth serves as an animal ambassador for her species. Born at the Zoo in 2013, she was named Xena in an online naming poll. Xena meets Zoo guests up close during special animal presentations. Her parents and sibling can be seen in the Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey.
Though not uncommon in the wild, deforestation and other forms of habitat destruction remain threats for the sloth. Other human-made threats include power lines and roads. Educating children and adults in the sloths’ home countries about the animals' importance to the ecosystem—and how to treat sloths respectfully—remains a challenge for those who want to help this unique and wonderful animal.
Both two-toed sloth species live in zoos. Yet identifying the two has always been problematic—they look alike! Based on the genetic information, a senior research associate in our Genetics Division designed a low-cost, easy-to-use genetic tool to identify two-toed sloths and improve management of the captive population. This tool allows visualizing DNA differences between species in a polymer matrix, a procedure that uses non-sophisticated tools in simple laboratory settings.Read more here...
You can help us bring sloths and other species back from the brink by supporting the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. Together we can save and protect wildlife around the globe.