I’ve just recently become aware that sloths are facing multiple threats due to urbanization and loss/fragmentation of their rain-forest habitat. Without sustained, concerted efforts on our part, they will be doomed to extinction, lost to us forever. Until recently, sloths have suffered from bad press going back to Darwin’s time where they were considered failed experiments in evolution, just one weakness away from extinction. As it turns out, sloths are highly successful and thrive in their preferred environment if allowed to do so. What sloths are is a totally unique, exotic if you will, type of mammal that is poorly understood even today. They are in no way in danger of suffering from their own “inferior” genes but they are in danger from encroachment of human development of the rain forest and the loss of habitat not to mention the death and dismemberment that comes with contact with “civilization”, cars, dogs, power lines, loggers, and oftentimes, humans themselves.
Please set aside what you’ve been taught about sloths in school, if they were even mentioned at all. The following documentary of a most-heartwarming rescue of a little sloth names Velcro rapidly dispels the notion that they are nothing but evolutionary mistakes. If you’re like me, you’ll watch “A Sloth Named Velcro” and immediately be motivated to search out more information about this too-cute-to-be-believed, enigmatic little creature with the Mona Lisa smile. Enjoy: A Sloth Named Velcro:
Okay, here’s a bit of a warning. What is it we do best here in America? Exploit things for our own benefit or profit or both right? If you decide to take the next slothful step in finding out a little more about these delightful but threatened creatures, you will immediately be besieged by “Sloth for Sale” advertisements and the histrionics of giddy Hollywood starlets being presented with their very own sloth as a birthday gift. Hell, even the Washington Post describes them as the new “kitten”. Really? Is that the best we can do? Fortunately, I do not think that this has to be the case if we can avoid the OOH, I gotta have one trap. THEY ARE NOT PETS! Trying to make a pet of a sloth will surely kill it! Those who make it their life’s work to study and rescue them barely understand enough about them, at this point, to be able to keep the rescued babies, who are ever-increasing in numbers, alive. As Americans, we are also capable of a high degree of empathy and generosity. I have witnessed this in our own rescue pursuits and humane education is on the upswing in this country. They have a saying in Costa Rica which I am just beginning to appreciate and will probably spend the rest of my life fathoming, PURA VIDA. Its literal translation of “pure life” belies the incredible loftiness of Pura Vida as an ideology applied to lifestyle. I wish we had a bit of that here.
I’d like to introduce you to some folks in Costa Rica who operate an “in the trenches”: operation similar to our own complete with its own slothpital. Unfortunately, their government who is generally supportive of their efforts on a number of fronts, unlike our own, does not extend this support to granting 501 ( C ) 3 status upon their organization. The tax exemption is nice when available but, in my mind, is not a deal-breaker when it comes to supporting causes that I believe in. I really can’t tell their story better than them so:
Welcome to the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica.
Please take the time to check out their mission, contact them directly if so desired and support their cause if you can. Their dedicated staff are on the cutting edge of the much-needed research that is so necessary to understand these creatures in order to save them.and the website contains a wealth of information, not to mention some very cute sloth photos. While you’re there, sign up for the free newsletter and explore the various options available in booking a tour or donating to their efforts. If you are here reading this now, you are undoubtedly an animal lover so please take a minute or two to check out what sloth rescue is all about and determine for yourself whether is a cause worthy of your support. Pura Vida!
By the way, if any of this has given you cause to visit Costa Rica, there is a special greeting from the residents that you will, hopefully, enjoy: Save the Americans . Too cute and I love the “joie de vivre” of the anteater.