Monday, August 13, 2012

Announcing Our Newest Arrival!

We can hardly contain our excitement! On Sunday, August 12th, we welcomed our newest baby ... a Hoffmann's two-toed sloth.

According to Wildwood's animal curator/director the baby is nursing, clinging well and appears healthy. Newborn sloths use the stomach of their mother as a cradle and snuggles into the well camouflaged cuddly fur. As a consequence, the baby is very difficult to photograph. The little sloth measures just under 8-inches and weighs less than a pound. Can you see the baby, cradled under the mother's chin?

The long, coarse hair of the sloth protects them from sun and rain. Their fur, unlike other mammals, flows from belly to top, not top from belly, allowing rainwater to slide off the fur while the animal is hanging upside down.

Hoffmann's two-toed sloth is found in the rain forest canopy in two separate regions of South America. Sloths are slow moving animals; the Hoffmann's two-toed sloth gets its name from the two toes on their forefeet. The toes end with long, curved claws that they use to hang upside down, almost completely motionless. Sloths sleep in this position for a minimum of 16 hours a day! As you can guess, they spent most of their time in trees, although they may travel on the ground to move to a new tree. They are strictly nocturnal, moving slowly through the canopy for about eight hours each night. In the wild, they are solitary and aside from mothers with their babies, it is unusual for two sloths to be found in a tree at the same time.

The name "sloth" means "lazy," but the slow movements of this animal are actually an adaptation for surviving on a low-energy diet of leaves. Sloths have very poor eyesight and hearing, and rely almost entirely on their senses of touch and smell to find food.

We don't know the gender of the baby as yet and the development of the new baby is almost as slow as their every day lives! The sloth offspring won't attempt the two-toed upside down "hang" until they are 6-month old!

Come and see the newest addition at the park; you will find them located in the reptile/primate building in the main park.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Twins Times Two!! Congratulations to Resident Cotton-Top and Red-Handed Tamarins!

Congratulations are in order for Wildwood Wildlife Park's residents: Cotton-Top Tamarin father Titus and mother Tullia and Red-Handed Tamarin father Cleo and mother Clowee. Both resident couples are now proud parents of twins!

The Cotton-Top Tamarin is a small New World monkey, weighing less than one pound, is found in tropical forests. Newborn Cotton-Tops can equal 20 percent of their mother's weight! Breeding pairs of Cotton-Tops are monogamous and raising babies is a family affair. Both Titus and Tullia take turns carrying their babies on their backs.

Cotton-Top Tamarins vocalize with birdlike whistles, soft chirping sounds and high-pitched trilling. They get their name from the long white hairs on their forehead that flows over their shoulders. They also have loud territorial songs as well as songs when it is excited.

The life span of Cotton-Top Tamarins in captivity has been as high as 25 years, in the wild the life span is about 13-16 years. The wild population is estimated at about 6,000 (source). Fewer than 300 Cotton-Top Tamarins make up the captive population; the population in Columbia are literally losing ground in the wild due to forest destruction to provide land for agricultural purposes and timber for fuel and housing.

Cotton-Top Tamarins are now protected by international law; they are critically endangered and are considered to be one of The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates.

You can see these beautiful little monkeys in their enclosure right next to the river otters at the Wildwood Wildlife Park.

Proud Red-Handed Tamarin father Cleo and mother Clowee are also busy with their newborn twins. Most tamarins have traditional white fur around their mouths except for the Red-Handed Tamarins; their face and body are mostly black. Their hands and feet are orange-red in color, which is why they are also known as the Golden-Handed Tamarin or Midas Tamarin.

Unlike other primates, Red-Handed Tamarin have claws instead of nail on all of their digits with the exception of their big toes. Also, their thumbs lack the saddle joint which allows for opposable thumbs.

The Red-Handed Tamarin is an exceptional climber and spends most of its time among the vines and branches of the trees. They are quick and agile and are superb jumpers known to jump distances of over 60 feet from a tree to the ground with no sign of injury.

Like all new babies at Wildwood Wildlife Park, the Cotton-Top and Red-Handed Tamarin twins are very important additions to a highly endangered species.

Wildwood Wildlife Park along with other zoos are working together to save species like Cotton-Top Tamarins and Red-Handed Tamarins by optimizing genetic diversity and ensuring a healthy captive population which in turn we can hope to save the endangered species from extinction in the wild.