The new cub's arrival is significant to the long-term health of the species as sloth bears are listed as vulnerable.
A male sloth bear cub named Jagger will make his debut at Idaho Falls Zoo's reopening in April 2022. Born the week before Thanksgiving in 2021, he has been cared for since then by his mother, Priya, and monitored by the zoo's animal care and veterinary staff at the zoo.
According to a release from the city of Idaho, Jagger was given his name to pair with his dad, Mick, and is the sixth cub born from parents Priya and Mick.
When the zoo reopens, the bears will alternate times on exhibit because male bears have been known for displaying aggression towards cubs. However, Priya being a protective mother who shows aggression to anyone that approaches her cub(s), is also a factor in the alternating times.
A fun tidbit is that sloth bears are renowned for carrying their cubs on their back, so zoo visitors will likely see Jagger hitching a ride on Priya.
The Idaho Falls Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), therefore, the management of the sloth bears is advised by a national Sloth Bear Species Survival Plan created and reviewed annually by a team of experts nationwide. According to the release, the program helps manage sloth bears at AZA-accredited zoos to ensure their wellness, genetic health, and survival.
Sloth bears are listed vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. This is mainly attributed to human population growth resulting in higher demands for natural resources, infringing upon sloth bears.
Idaho Falls Zoo introduces new sloth bear Jagger. News release. City of Idaho Falls. March 4, 2022. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://www.eastidahonews.com/2022/03/idaho-falls-zoo-introduces-new-sloth-bear-jagger