Zoo Atlanta Resident & APL!VE Star Okra the Sloth Expecting!
By: Milaena Hamilton
SLOTH WEEK has begun! Tune in Friday, June 20 to Tuesday, June 24 for plenty of fun sloth online content on Animalist and AnimalPlanet.com. Animal Planet will also air a special mini-marathon of Meet the Sloths on June 21st from 8am to 11am ET/PT.
Zoo Atlanta announced last week that their 19-year-old Hoffman's two-toed sloth, Okra Mae, is expecting. An ultrasound conducted by the zoo’s Animal Management and Veterinary Teams successfully revealed the pregnancy on May 23rd.
Like many things when sloths are involved, this pregnancy is long awaited at the zoo. It is the result of matching done in collaboration with the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which recommended 21-year-old male Cocoa as a viable mate for both of the zoo’s female sloths, Okra and Bonnie. Cocoa was introduced into the zoo’s sloth exhibit during the summer of 2013, and all signs point to his and Okra Mae’s slow-mance beginning not long after his arrival.
With a lengthy gestation period of 11 to 12 months, Okra Mae and Cocoa’s baby is predicted to be born in early June or July 2014. He or she will be the first sloth born at Zoo Atlanta, and a welcome sight for viewers of Animal Planet L!VE’s Sloth Cam, which streams live daily from inside the sloth exhibit.
As we all wait for the impending birth of Okra Mae and Cocoa's bundle of joy, follow the leisurely upside-down lives of the zoo’s sloth trio on Sloth Cam, and tune in every other Wednesday at 1:30pm EST for Sloth Chats with the staff at Zoo Atlanta.
Update 6/20/14: Zoo Atlanta reported today that while Okra Mae did go into labor, the baby did not survive. In a press release, Zoo Atlanta's President and CEO Raymond B. King stated, "We’re disappointed about Okra Mae’s baby. This would have been a first for us at Zoo Atlanta, and we were looking forward to the birth with great excitement. While this birth had a sad outcome, we’re encouraged by the success of our sloth program so far and are optimistic that Okra Mae will produce other offspring in the future.”
Our heartfelt condolences go out to Zoo Atlanta at this time.