Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sjakie snuggles

My niece Miranda and I love sloths, so I am taking the opportunity to highlight this international story about the rescue of an animal baby by a human toddler. Sjakie (above, more photos here) was born at Burgers' Zoo in Arnhem, in the Netherlands on May 19th. Almost as soon as he was born, he began to waste away because his mother wasn't producing enough milk. Hand feeding was not itself a problem, but getting the newborn to nurse away from Mom was. "Baby sloths need to cuddle, especially when they nurse. We knew it needed to take milk from a syringe but without mum there it was not interested," explains zookeeper Boudewijn Stenbreker. He offered plush toys from the zoo's gift shop without success. Then his 2-year-old daughter stepped up and offered her teddy bear, which was already broken in. It worked! "Lieke was delighted. Sjakie took to the bear as if it was its own mum and now grasps it while zookeepers feed the baby extra milk as well as liquidised vegetables." Sjakie is with his mother when he is not with the teddy, but another similar bear has been given to Lieke to break in just in case a 2nd surrogate is needed.
Previous posts about zoos:

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