Twin sloth bear cubs, now 3 months old, made their first venture Friday to their Woodland Park Zoo outdoor exhibit, which has been closed to the public for construction. The cubs have been in a behind-the-scenes maternity den with their mother since their birth in December, and staff haven’t been close enough even to determine their gender.
But on Friday, the cubs appeared to be healthy and, like most young’uns, curious as they dug at the ground and scrambled onto logs. The cubs will have more private outdoor sessions before their debut to the public on May 4.
There are fewer than 50 sloth bears in North American zoos, and fewer than 10,000 remaining in the wild. The bears are found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Newborns are blind at birth, with their eyes opening at about three weeks. They start walking at about 4 weeks.
One extraordinarily dull fact: They were initially classified as bear sloths when they were thought to be sloths, but their name was changed to “sloth bear” in 1810 when they were discovered to be Asian bears. Store that fact away for awkward dinner conversation.