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A hot new date has flown in for one lovelorn Cornish female - from the land of Santa Claus. Arriving into London Heathrow from Stockholm, Sweden, on flight SAS 531 at 12:20pm on 29th November was Hadar the Swedish sloth, heading for his new home at Newquay Zoo.

After several months of searching, the charity zoo - already home to one female Hoffman’s two-toed sloth named Roxy - found Hadar after matching the pair through the international zoo dating system, the European Studbook.

Both sloths were rejected by their parents at birth and hand-reared by keepers at their respective zoos; now they are all grown up and looking for love. At Newquay Zoo, Roxy has been living on her own for the past few years, while Hadar lived with his twin, Hildor. Hadar has now left Hildor behind in Sweden to head to the milder climes of Cornwall.

Keepers hope that the pair will get on well. Senior Keeper Gareth O’Dare said: “We are really excited about the arrival of a male sloth for Roxy, we have been waiting for some time for this and it will be great to see what the future holds for these two sloths, we really hope we will have baby sloths at some point in the next few years.”

Studbooks are used by zoos internationally to pair up animals, making sure they are genetically suitable and that there’s no danger of inbreeding. The idea was borrowed from the racehorse industry in the early 20th century.

The studbook for a species is run by a studbook keeper, who monitors population, collects data on births, deaths and transfers from participating collections and produces the studbook. He or she reviews the success of the species and assess management needs.

A full studbook is published every three years with an update every year. Studbooks may include natural history details, information on status in the wild, census reports on the captive population, lists of all the deaths, births and transfers in the year, demographic and genetic analyses and the breeding recommendations.

The pair have been matched just in time for Christmas and will be able to be seen amongst the branches upstairs in the Tropical House.

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