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Zoo renames sloth habitat in honor of late toddler who loved sloths

Oliver Nicholson was diagnosed with VACTERL association and died before he was 2. He loved...
Oliver Nicholson was diagnosed with VACTERL association and died before he was 2. He loved sloths so the zoo renamed the habitat after him.(Cincinnati Zoo)
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 2:08 PM CDT
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CINCINNATI, Ohio (Gray News) – The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is renaming its sloth habitat in honor of a little boy who died earlier this year.

Oliver Nicholson and his twin brother, Atticus, were born seven weeks premature on Oct. 11, 2019.

Oliver died during a routine procedure on Feb. 17, 2021.

According to Alex Nicholson, Oliver’s father, the toddler was diagnosed with VACTERL association and was in and out of children’s hospitals during his short life. He would have been 2 years old.

“We gave him a stuffed sloth during one of his hospital stays which he adored and slept with every night,” Alex Nicholson explained.

When the Nicholson family learned the Cincinnati Zoo’s sloth was pregnant, the family started a petition to name the baby Oliver.

But the zoo never got to discuss names for the baby sloth as it was delivered stillborn.

Instead, the zoo renamed the sloth habitat to “The Oliver Nicholson Memorial Sloth Habitat,” in honor of the little boy who loved sloths.

“We had been in contact with the zoo and had discussed other ways that we could honor Oliver,” said Nicholson. “This tribute will be lasting and means so much. It gives us a huge bright spot on an especially difficult day and some positive news to share with the 80,000 people who signed our petition.”

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