Drusillas Park is celebrating International Sloth Day today (Friday).
This special day is designed to raise awareness for this bizarre and wonderful species.
International Sloth Day was originally created by the Foundation AIUNAU, a Columbian not-for-profit conservation and wildlife organisation.
It was hoped that, by creating the day, they could help the public learn about the importance of the rehabilitation, well-being, and conservation of sloths.
After spending the last year-and-a-half successfully hand-rearing Flash, the two-toed sloth, Keepers at Drusillas have every reason to celebrate the day.
Flash arrived at the Park on March 26 last year, but sadly her mother passed away shortly after her birth, leaving her an orphan.
From that moment on Head Keeper Mark Kenward and Zoo Keeper Gemma Romanis were responsible for Flash’s care and worked around the clock to look after the infant, including getting up for night feeds every three hours.
Taking on the parental care of Flash was a huge commitment, and both Gemma and Mark created activity pens in their homes to keep Flash occupied. They also both helped build a sloth gymnasium at the zoo, which was designed to encourage muscle development and increase activity, whilst providing additional stimulation.
Head Keeper Mark Kenward said, “We are very lucky to have some beautiful sloths living at Drusillas, so it has always been wonderful to celebrate International Sloth Day.
“It does feel a little more special since we’ve had Flash, just because she became like a surrogate child to me!
“It’s really quite touching to be able to mark the day with Flash and to be able to see how much she has grown and benefitted from the intense care we gave her.
“It just goes to show how important conservation and rehabilitation initiatives are.
“It’s been tough but we couldn’t be happier with Flash’s progress. She was the first sloth baby born at the zoo so it was a bit of a learning curve! Flash is thriving in her new enclosure with her roommate Gordon; it’s really brilliant to see.”
The lucky sloths at Drusillas will be treated with extra helpings of their favourite leafy greens and vegetables to mark the day.
Located just off the A27 in Alfriston, Drusillas Park is open from 10am daily. For more information, call 01323 874100 or visit the website at www.drusillas.co.uk