Zoo officials announced Thursday that a sloth has died.
Janis, a Linne’s two-toed sloth, died peacefully sometime in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday at Springfield’s Dickerson Park Zoo. Friday would have been her 30th birthday.
She died of natural causes, according to the zoo.
A sloth’s life expectancy is around 16 years, said zoo spokeswoman Joey Powell.
Janis came to Springfield in November 2017 from another Accredited Zoos and Aquariums location, and she was often seen resting in her bucket at the sloth exhibit.
“That was her favorite place to hang out,” Powell said. “Typical sloth behavior, they would only come down about once a week to get a drink and poop.”
Likening Janis to the grumpy cartoon character Maxine, Powell said she didn’t have the most pleasant personality.
“That could also be due to the fact she was an old lady,” Powell said.
Keepers had been monitoring Janis for some time and were helping her cope with allergies.
“It’s never easy,” Powell said. “For her to peacefully go and live to a ripe old age and for her to peacefully pass in her bucket — her favorite place to hang in the night — as difficult as it is, that’s all you can ask for.”
Janis is the second sloth to die this year. In May, 5-year-old Trixie died following an emergency surgery to help remove an obstruction and bladder stone.
There are no plans to acquire more sloths for the Dickerson Park Zoo at this time, Powell said.
“They’re very, very difficult to get,” Powell said in using an accredited-AZA source. “There’s an illegal sloth trade, but we will not participate in that.”
“Emotions were high to begin with for concern for Emma and then knowing Janis wasn’t doing well,” Powell said. “Then having that great emotional high of coming in and seeing this healthy giraffe and to turn around the next night to lose Janis.”
“An animal can’t tell you what’s wrong and when you care about that animal, it’s very difficult,” she continued.
If you would like to send a card or well wishes to the animal care team, you may address them to “Animal Care Staff” or “Zookeepers” and mail them to 3043 N. Fort Ave. Springfield, MO 65803.