From cuddly to cold-blooded, the Honolulu Zoo is enjoying a baby boom

From cuddly to cold-blooded, the Honolulu zoo is enjoying a baby boom

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The last several months have been busy for zookeepers at the Honolulu Zoo, who are welcoming a brand-new generation of animals.

Four-month-old Lolohi is a two-toed sloth, and web cams at the zoo captured the moment the baby sloth literally fell into the world back in December.

It’s still unclear if the young sloth is a male or female, but zoo officials say the Hawaiian name “Lolohi” translates to “slow poke.”

Lolohi loves to eat apples, sweet potatoes, and corn, and the animal can be found clinging to its mother, Harriett.

But the sloth's keeper says that's about to change.

"Lolohi is at that age now where she's more independent, so she's going to start venturing more off from her mom," said zookeeper Kevin Murata.

In February, a baby bongo antelope, who still doesn’t have a name, was born and is growing up quickly. The birth was significant, since these African antelope are considered near-endangered.

"Some of the species that we breed are for the species survival plan, and it's real critical that we participate and help build that population up in captivity," said Linda Santos, zoo director.

Santos says having little ones in their care is also a valuable learning experience for her staff.

"They learn a lot about neonatal and wildlife husbandry. Babies have different diets and different needs," said Santos.

In March, the zoo welcomed five baby crocodile monitor lizards, becoming one of just three zoos in the world to successfully hatch the New Guinea natives in decades.

For the reptiles, most of the day is spent outside sunbathing. Then, it's time to eat.

"We try crickets first, and if we can't get them to eat, we offer the pinkies (mice)," said zookeeper Debra Bolosan. "They're the longest out of the monitor family. The males can get up to 10 feet long, but that includes the tail."

That tail, zookeepers say, is used for balance and security.

Over at the ectotherm complex are some of the smallest babies at the zoo, but officials say they're just as important.

"We have baby elongated tortoises," said zookeeper Kale Taylor. "These guys take about 90 to 100 days to hatch out of the egg. They're from Southeast Asia and they are an endangered species."

There are also hundreds of eggs that will hatch into caterpillars. Those caterpillars will then grow into Kamehameha butterflies.

"It is a native species to Hawaii, so we work with DLNR to try to increase the population," said Taylor.

Santos says they're hoping to expand their program by bringing in another breeding pair of Sumatran tigers, as well as cheetah cubs.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.