Based off the ultrasound, the pup is expected to be born in September or October. An ultrasound last week showed the pup’s head, spine, arms, legs and heartbeat, according to the zoo.
“We are always cautiously optimistic with first-time moms, but we are fairly confident that Lightning’s assertive personality will lend well to being a first-time mom,” said Swanson. “She will do most of the work once the baby is born. It will latch on to her and stay attached for the next 10 to 12 months. Dad’s contribution is genetics.”
It wasn’t love at first sight for Lightning and Moe, the zoo said. Lightning was introduced to Moe in December 2019 after she was brought to the Cincinnati Zoo on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. The pair now spend most of their time together.
Moe came to the Cincinnati Zoo after he was orphaned in the wild. Because he is directly from the wild, his genetics are considered to be very valuable in helping increase genetic diversity in the species survival plan, according to the zoo.
The Linne’s two-toed sloth is not endangered but is becoming vulnerable due to human encroachment. The Cincinnati Zoo raises money to care for Moe and Lightning and for its conservation partner The Sloth Institute through private sloth encounters.