Shou Shan Zoo in Kaohsiung is over 40 years old. It had to go on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, relying on livestreaming to give fans a glimpse of the animals. But renovations are well underway while the zoo is closed. Zoo keepers are adamant the zoo will reopen in April next year. In the meantime, they''re enjoying the patter of very tiny feet.

A newborn baby sloth lies in its mother’s arms. The bundle of joy barely opens its eyes, as it chews languidly on a bit of sweet potato leaf.

Here in Kaohsiung, Shou Shan Zoo is undergoing renovations as part of the “New Zoo Campaign.” Since it closed its doors in May, it has welcomed its youngest denizen. This tiny little sloth was born in late October. At a month old, its sex was still undetermined. It’s the second child of its mom, whose name is Baby.

Chuang Hsuan-chih

Shou Shan Zoo director

Baby is a very maternal sloth. The little sloth spends all day lying on its mom’s tummy.

The zoo’s duty is to protect animals but also to give its charges comfortable and spacious homes. Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Charles Lin was at the zoo to inspect the renovations. The latest news is that the zoo plans to focus on becoming a top destination for parents and children.

Charles Lin

Kaohsiung deputy mayor

There’s a sky walk that’s more than 830 meters long. It’s about 2.4 meters wide. You can go up on it even pushing a buggy. All the works are well ahead of schedule. It will definitely completely reopen in September next year. A partial reopening will begin in April.

Early bird tickets will be available from April onward. But while the zoo has been shut for the pandemic, its four-legged inhabitants have never stopped being adorable.

Ali the Elephant cools off with a spurt of water. Then he sidles up to his human as if looking for a pet. The zoo has been livestreaming through the pandemic. The stream attracted more than 2,000 views in its first two hours.

Although Kaohsiung residents can’t head to the zoo right now, they can still keep up with the animals online. And hopefully by this time next year you can pay the creatures an in-person visit once more.