This Sloth is No Slacker | Blogs | Smithsonian
Current Issue
July / August 2014  magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

This Sloth is No Slacker

Taught to avoid sloth? Meet 9-year-old Khali (right), a female sloth bear that came from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle to become a non-breeding companion for the National Zoo's 26-year-old male sloth bear Merlin. Sloth bears are slow-movers, thus their association with laziness or slothfulness...

smithsonian.com

khali2.jpg

Taught to avoid sloth? Meet 9-year-old Khali (right), a female sloth bear that came from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle to become a non-breeding companion for the National Zoo's 26-year-old male sloth bear Merlin. Sloth bears are slow-movers, thus their association with laziness or slothfulness, one of the seven-deadly sins. But the sloth bear is no lazy creature, the animals sport a slightly longer snout than other species of bear, and they industriously use it along with their lips to create a vacuum-like seal to suck up insects from holes, cracks and crevices.Khali arrived from Seattle late last year, but has only recently joined Merlin following gradual introductions between the pair. Sloth bears, found in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, are listed as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union, although there is no solid estimate of how many remain in the wild. In India, where many sloth bears are found, their numbers are declining mainly due to habitat loss, poaching and the use of the animals for an illegal practice known as "bear dancing."In addition to Khali and Merlin, the National Zoo is also home to two other sloth bears, 13-year-old Hana, and her two-year-old cub, Balawat. (Photograph courtesy of Mehgan Murphy, The National Zoo)
About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus