Staff at London Zoo have said they “couldn’t have asked for a better start to the New Year” following the thrilling birth of a baby sloth nick-named ‘Nova’.

Zookeepers kept a close eye on 16-year-old Marilyn, the mother of Nova – which means ‘new’ in Latin – over the festive period and were “thrilled” to see the baby two-toed sloth make their entrance into the world on New Year’s Day.

“Having arranged regular ultrasounds with the Zoo’s vet team, we knew Marilyn was coming to the end of her pregnancy, so we’ve been checking every day for any sign of the new arrival; we were delighted to finally spot a tiny baby exactly where it should be, clinging onto Marilyn’s tummy, as she curled up in her favourite tree”, London Zoo sloth keeper Veronica Heldt said.

Two-toed sloth born at London Zoo
Mailyn and Nova (ZSL London Zoo)

“We’ve nick-named the little one Nova, which means ‘new’ in Latin, as we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the new year.”

Ms Heldt added that sloth babies are “very strong” when they are born and they usually cling to their mothers until they are at least 12-months old in order to develop their muscles so they can swing from tree to tree.

Two-toed sloth born at London Zoo
Nova was born on New Year’s Day (ZSL London Zoo)

Nova, whose sex has not yet been determined, was also born with “impressive claws,” which are expected to grow up to four inches in length- a characteristic commonly seen in the nocturnal mammals who are native to South America.

Visitors could also catch a glimpse of the pair, as well as Nova’s father Leander in Rainforest Life – “the only living rainforest in the city”.

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