Arrival of a couple of sloths at the Citadel


Arrival of a couple of sloths at the Citadel
Marie-Pierre Papazian - Citadelle of Besançon
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Arrival of a couple of sloths at the Citadel

A pair of sloths arrived at the Citadelle in Besançon on Thursday 11 November. This is the first time this species has been presented there. Internationally recognised for its zootechnical skills and its ability to breed sensitive species and its ability to reproduce sensitive species, the Besançon Museum team was chosen to host these animals.

At the request of Montpellier Zoo, which was forced to close its Amazonian greenhouse for renovation, the Citadelle was entrusted with a pair of sloths as part of a rescue programme. For several weeks, the Museum's teams have been involved in the fitting out of a lodge that meets the specific requirements of this species and is necessary for its acclimatisation, such as the landscape and lighting environment, hygrometry and rest areas. Concerned about the animal's well-being, the teams will offer them enrichment, whether in terms of food (varied menus, distribution procedure, etc.) or the environment (organisation of the space, type of materials, proposals for varied activities, including sometimes games, etc.).

Why present sloths at the Citadelle?

As with all species in danger of extinction, mainly due to the destruction of their natural habitat, but also to poaching and trafficking, the aim is to create an emergency population in zoos to ensure the survival of these animals so that, in the long term and if the conditions are right, they can be reintroduced into the wild. The Museum is fully committed to this mission of conserving endangered species. The zootechnical skills of the Museum's teams and their recognised know-how in the reproduction of rare and endangered species were decisive in the choice made to place this hopeful pair in the fight against the global erosion of biodiversity.

At the same time, it is important to draw attention to the threats to sloths in the wild. Teaching and education for the protection of nature and biodiversity are an integral part of the Museum's missions. Raising visitors' awareness through mediation is essential because better knowledge means better protection.

Finally, the Museum is also committed to financing in-situ (in the wild) actions by collecting funds for, for example, habitat restoration operations, reintroductions, cooperation and aid to local populations. The Museum supports no less than 47 species conservation programmes in France and throughout the world, including 7 reintroduction projects.

Through its action, the Museum participates in an international mechanism working to save endangered species and preserve biodiversity.

Did you know that?

The sloth is a tree-dwelling mammal found in the wild in South and Central America. Its long claws make it very difficult to walk on the ground. It has an exceptional metabolism and an original way of life, spending 90% of its time hanging upside down. It is also the slowest of all mammals, moving a maximum of 40 metres a day and spending much of its time sleeping. Because of their slower physiology, sloths do not need very large spaces for their well-being. It feeds on leaves, vegetables and fruit.

Another unusual fact is that the sloth has an extra vertebra at the base of its neck, which allows it to turn its head 270°, so that it can see its surroundings 360°.

The sloths can be seen in their dedicated space in the primate moat (on the right as you enter the zoo). They will have an outdoor area and an indoor glassed-in enclosure that will allow them to be observed regardless of the weather conditions.