Zoo Miami’s sloth bear celebrates her birthday

Zoo Miami's sloth bear celebrates her birthday
“Keesha,” inspects her custom cake made of non-toxic materials with a variety of hidden treasures.

“Keesha,” a female sloth bear that resides at Zoo Miami, recently celebrated her 26th birthday with special treats prepared by her keepers.

Those treats included a custom cake made of non-toxic materials with a variety of hidden treasures including strawberries, black berries, blue berries, grapes and yogurt which she thoroughly enjoyed. These treats are part of a carefully managed enrichment program designed to mentally and physically stimulate the animals under human care at the zoo.

Keesha was born at the Smokey Mountain Zoological Park in Tennessee and arrived at Zoo Miami via the Akron Zoo in Ohio in December 2016. At 26 years old, she is believed to be the oldest sloth bear in any zoo in North America.

Sloth bears are considered a vulnerable species that is threatened by poaching and habitat destruction. They are solitary and found in moist and dry forests of the Indian subcontinent where they feed primarily on fruit and insects — especially termites.

There is a gap in their upper front teeth which enables them to create a straw with their long lips and suck up termites and other insects quickly and effectively. Their long shaggy coat does not have an undercoat so it helps keep them cool in their native warm climate while protecting them from biting insects.

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