Sloth born at Hilo zoo

  • Photo by zookeeper Tanya Okamoto.

Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens welcomed a new addition in November after a two-toed sloth gave birth to a furry, brown baby.

The baby sloth, which has not been named, was born to the zoo’s two adult sloths, Akala and Sid, on Sunday, Nov. 8. The weekend was the first time in weeks there was no construction for consecutive days.


“She must have been waiting for a period of quiet, calm and peace to get the job done,” said Pam Mizuno, zoo director. “The baby has been growing well and is very healthy so far.”

The zoo, which closed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been undergoing a nearly $9 million renovation to help bring the public components of the park into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The zoo was initially expected to reopen in December, but county Parks and Recreation Deputy Director James Komata said the reopening will “probably be pushed back to Feb. 1,” during an interview in October 2020.

While construction at the zoo has been steadily moving along, reopening in February is not likely, according to Mizuno.

The animals will continue to be cared for by the zookeepers, and the zoo enrichment team members will keep the animals company.


Mizuno and zoo employees hope to safely reopen the zoo in early spring.

Email Kelsey Walling at

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