Zoo Atlanta welcomes another famously slow-moving member to its animal population: Nutella, a 2-year-old female Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth. A recent arrival from the Topeka Zoo, Nutella is now exploring her new home in the Zoo’s KIDZone area.
Nutella’s move to Atlanta was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which works to ensure that zoological populations of the species remain healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining for future generations. The SSP has recommended that Nutella breed with Cocoa, the male sloth at Zoo Atlanta.
“We’re excited to welcome Nutella to Zoo Atlanta. One of the most educational opportunities available here at the Zoo is the chance to learn firsthand about the natural adaptations that help animals succeed in their environments,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “From specialized claws to internal organs that are rotated to accommodate a lifestyle spent almost entirely upside down, sloths have a fascinating place in the animal kingdom.”
Before meeting Cocoa, Nutella will be introduced to her new neighbors: adult female sloth Bonnie; Bonnie’s 8-month-old daughter, Willow; and Eva and Leao, the golden lion tamarins who share their habitat. Another adult female, Okra Mae, and male Cocoa currently live in another mixed-species sloth-tamarin habitat in the Zoo’s Brazilian Outpost area.
Native to Central and South America, Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths are not currently classified as endangered, but wild populations face threats as a result of habitat destruction, human encroachment and the pet trade. Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths, which are not particularly social animals and do not make good pets, are among a growing number of species with wild populations facing threats as an indirect result of viral social media content fueling interest in private ownership of exotic pets.
Zoo Atlanta is an active member of many SSP programs, which exist to protect the long-term viability of animal populations housed in accredited North American zoos. Lynn Yakubinis, a Lead Keeper at Zoo Atlanta, chairs the SSP programs for Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths and Linne’s two-toed sloths.
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About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, home to more than 70 species in the world’s first LEED Gold-certified reptile and amphibian complex. Experiences include behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters with African lions, Aldabra giant tortoises, giant pandas and lemurs. Zoo Atlanta is open year-round with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper Talks, interactive wildlife presentations, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.
Opening August 8: the all-new African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs and meerkats. The African Savanna is part of the Zoo’s landmark Grand New View transformation. Future elements include Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination, and a new grand entry plaza, opening in early 2020. For more on the Zoo’s mission and conservation programs and partnerships, visit zooatlanta.org/conservation or download the 2018 conservation report, Beyond the Zoo.