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Zoo Proudly Announces Birth of Sloth Bear & Asks Public to Help Name Her

Thursday, Feb 28, 2019

LITTLE ROCK (Feb. 28, 2019) – The Little Rock Zoo is proud to announce that a healthy female sloth bear cub was born January 9, 2019.  The proud parents are mother, Kali, and father, Sahaasa. 

n celebration of our newest addition, the Zoo is hosting a naming contest.  Zoo staff have selected three (3) names from which to choose. The public is invited to vote by online poll available at the Zoo’s website and Facebook page.  The voting will end Friday, March 8, 2019, at noon.  Choices are:  1) Zaara (Arabic), which means bright as the dawn; 2) Rani (Hindi), which means princess; and 3) Geeta (Hindi), which means pearl or song.  The name Geeta is in honor of Geeta Seshamani, co-founder and Director of Wildlife SOS, an Indian conservation group whose goal is to protect and conserve India’s natural heritage, forest and wildlife wealth.  The Zoo sent Zoo keepers to India to learn more about conservation of sloth bears in the wild.  

Already fierce, this baby sloth bear is the only survivor of a two cub birth; her brother did not survive. Gross necropsy reports did not reveal a conclusive cause of death but to ensure the health and survival of the second cub, Zoo staff made the decision to pull it on January 23 in order to hand-rear her.  She is bottle-fed every two to three (2 to 3) hours to help her continue to grow and thrive; she is healthy and progressing well, according to Zoo staff. 

The bear’s birth comes as a recommendation of the American Species Survival Plan ® Program, known as SSP.  The SSP Program, developed in 1981 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), helps to ensure the survival of select species in zoos and aquariums, which are either threatened or endangered in the wild. Native to the Indian subcontinent, sloth bears are listed as a vulnerable species, meaning one that is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances that are threatening its survival and reproduction improve.  Their vulnerability is mainly caused by habitat loss or degradation of their home. Experts estimate less than twenty-thousand (20,000) sloth bears survive in the wilds of the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka.

About the Zoo

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.  With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.  For more information, visit

For more information on Little Rock Zoo, visit or call 501-661-7208


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