Asia Trail Curator Tony Barthel and keeper staff at the Smithsonian's National Zoo have determined the sex of a 3-month-old sloth bear cub: it's a boy! Keepers report that the cub is quite daring and adventurous; he will balance himself atop wobbly enrichment toys (such as logs and boomer balls) and has recently taken to climbing the mesh in his enclosure. However, mother Hana is always nearby to carry him down to ground level if he climbs too high for her liking.
The cub was born Dec. 19 and has spent the past 13 weeks bonding with Hana in a den near the Asia Trail exhibit. Animal care staff and the public have had the opportunity to watch Hana nurture the cub and watch him play and grow via the live Sloth Bear Cub Cam on the Zoo's website. The information gathered from watching their behavior will be shared with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for the benefit of other institutions that exhibit and want to breed this species. The cub's first veterinary exam is planned in the next few weeks and the family's public debut will take place later this summer.
To follow the cub's progress, watch him on the live webcam, read updates from the sloth bear keepers and check for news on the Zoo's Twitter feed and Facebook page. On warmer days, Zoo visitors can watch the cub's father, Francois, sunning himself on Asia Trail.
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To download photos and video of the cub, visit the Zoo's Flickr page.