Tales from the Jungle: June 2022

Tales from the Jungle: June 2022

Urban Sloth Project update

We are very pleased to announce that we managed to get our routine health check done on Luna and her baby Celeste, and they are both doing great! Celeste is growing up so fast, and Luna continues to do very well in her little territory by the sea. There have been no further deforestation attempts in her area and even vehicle intrusions are way down.

 

 

In other news, we’ve managed to change the backpacks on Mango and Maracuya, who are doing well and have acquired the nicknames “the fruit twins”. If you’d like to hear more about this adorable duo, get the full details by joining our VIP community!

 

Listen to Dr. Rebecca Cliffe’s latest podcast

Instant Genius is a bite-sized masterclass in podcast form. Check the BBC Science News Instant Genius Podcast about sloths and conservation, and listen to Dr. Cliffe herself!

 

 

Camera Trap Footage

The children from our Kukula Kids’ Club reviewed the footage from our new camera trap project on sloth bridges and identified the species found on the camera that had been using our wildlife crossings. They saw sloths, kinkajous, and a woolly opossum!

We did group discussions on these animals and why they need the bridge. Then they all picked one animal they saw and painted them!

 

Bringing photography to children

Our Kukula Kids’ Club keeps bringing new activities and opportunities to its members in the Kekoldi indigenous community! This time we teamed up with Girls Who Click for a wildlife photography workshop! If you’re interested in contributing to this project, each camera costs about $50 and is donated to children who will keep it to continue developing their skills throughout the year.

The importance of rainforests

Filtering water, capturing Co2, regulating Earth’s climate– learn about all the ways rainforests’ are so important to our everyday lives…even if you don’t live in one. This month we are raising awareness and celebrating how vital rainforests are for the future of sloths and everyone else.

 

Projects on track

This month we planted +310 trees, installed 7 sloth crossings while sloths have been spotted using our wildlife bridges (check the wonderful photo from Cerderholm Photography), started organizing our next spay and neuter campaign, received two different film crews, added 15 new members to the Sloth Friendly Network, and began two tourism-related projects in the area that we can’t tell you about yet. Tune in next time to find out more!

Meet the SloCo community: The Krueger Family

This month we would like to highlight the amazing support of the incredible Krueger family, who have been such amazing supporters of the SloCo community. They have already symbolically adopted ALL of our sloths, donated for 3 Sloth Crossings and 6 camera traps (with all the accessories!), and even helped transport this equipment all the way down to the jungles of the South Caribbean! Their family business is also a Platinum Star Partner of our Corporate Giving Program.

 

 

In Kim Krueger’s words: “We just see the world changing so much. And not a lot of people want to seem to help sloths. So we thought we wanted to help them more. We want to support SloCo and sloths in every way possible!”

Join our SloCo Community!

 

Fails of the month

Sick days are never over

After several months of nice, healthy calm, come June more than half of our team came down with either Covid, Dengue, or the infamous “Covidengue”, which is what happens when you can’t decide which one you have because you might have both. Covidengue is not a disease recognized by any health authorities anywhere, but for a disease that doesn’t actually exist it feels real! (And terrible. Really terrible. 0/10 would not recommend.)

Land purchase

As the lease runs out on our current headquarters, SoCo has been shopping around for some land to buy and build on. It sure would be nice to own our building and not have to rent! We thought we had some great luck this month and were about to close on purchasing some beautiful land complete with jungle and even a lagoon! Sadly, there were some irregularities in the last-minute background checks and the deal fell through for now.

 

-SloCo Team

Tales From the Jungle: May 2022

Tales From the Jungle: May 2022

As we put nearly half the year behind us (holy cow, where is 2022 going?) we have so much great news for you! May has kept us busy installing more Sloth Crossing Wildlife Bridges, saying goodbye to one of the sloths of the Urban Sloth Project, receiving important awards, and more!

Future for Nature winner

This month our founder and executive director Dr. Rebecca Cliffe traveled to Amsterdam to receive the Future for Nature Award of €50,000! (About $53,000 US.) For an entire week, she got to hang out with fellow conservationists from around the globe, environmental authorities, and other people fighting for the future of planet Earth. Check out this video with Dr. Rebecca’s presentation about our Sloth Scat Detection Dog and how we’re going to be putting this award to good use.

 

 

Inspiring the next generation

SloCo is also proud this month to have participated as advisors in the first Thinkaton Monge; a competition organized by one of the most important tech businesses in Costa Rica. The participants were university students who had to solve a given problem with a technological solution.

The problem this time was: the lack of data on sloth populations! The winners proposed sloth counting using thermosensitive cameras in drones mixed with a centralized national database. Wow. This would be a real game-changer for our favorite arboreal mammals. Congratulations to the winners Alejandra Merino and Ricardo Cascante for their ‘SlothFinder’ proposal!

 

Welcome to Sloth Town, a visual journey by Suzi

Just in case you’ve missed it, we published a shocking article written by wildlife photographer and SloCo trustee, Suzi Eszterhas, about the lives of the sloths living in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. The article is illustrated with a selection of photographs taken during the week she spent here.

 

sloth between two buildings

Can we make Sloth Town a safer place for sloths?

Our Sloth Friendly Network certification is an initiative looking to do exactly that: make human-wildlife coexistence possible by making our streets and gardens safer for animals. The accredited members of the SFN are businesses that have installed Sloth Crossing Wildlife Bridge, planted trees, trained their pets to not attack wildlife, educate their guests about responsible tourism, and supported community conservation in other ways.

 

Goodbye, Baguette!

Baguette was one of the sloths we were monitoring for the Urban Sloth Project, but alas, all good things come to an end—but it was a very cute, Happily Ever After kind of ending. After monitoring her for almost a year, we decided it was time to let Baguette go. Read her story, and all about why she is still one of the most difficult sloths to track!

 

Sloth Food and Digestion: new Slothopedia entry

Continuing with our commitment to bring you the very best, most up to date and most accurate information on all things sloth, we have for you our latest Slothopedia entry about sloth food. How long does it take a sloth to digest a leaf? Do they eat things besides leaves?

 

Bridges in the sky carry sloths to safety in Costa Rica

This month we also received a visit from a journalist hailing all the way from Mongabay who recorded some footage of our Sloth Crossing Project. Check the video below to learn more about how we generate safe connectivity for sloths in urban areas.

 

 

Thanks for sticking with us so far, and we will see you next month as we kick off summer in June!

 

All the best from the jungle,

-SloCo Team

Tales from the Jungle: April 2022

Tales from the Jungle: April 2022

Happy April everyone! We hope you survived any April Fools pranks from the beginning of the month, had a happy Easter with friends and family if you so celebrate, appreciated some jazz (what, you didn’t know it was Jazz Appreciation Month?), and ate some yummy food on National Empanada Day, which was April 8th. Because the only thing better than an empanada is a holiday devoted to them!

 

Here in Costa Rica, the defining holidays are Semana Santa, or Holy Week, when in addition to religious observances, every tourist in the whole country goes to the beach. Our tiny beach town was glutted with tourists (and their cars), which made it difficult to get anywhere. Sloth tracking was a challenge, but the Tracking Team rose to the challenge, sloths were tracked, and the holidays survived.

Speaking of sloths, we’ve had a bit of a change up with one of the Urban Sloth Project’s sloths, read on to find out who!

 

The Adventures of Nacho

Nacho has officially been released from the Urban Sloth Project. Although he was one of the most interesting sloths we monitored and we really enjoyed tracking him, we kept having problems with his equipment being stolen. Check out our blog here to read more of Nacho’s story and what we learned from him!

 

The Urban Sloth Project is a long-term study on how the urbanization of their environment affects sloths. We’re currently monitoring eight sloths, and you can get updates by joining our VIP community! We send out updates and pictures every month.

 

New milestone for our Education Program!

 

Our Sloth School Program, a local and online educational enrichment program focusing on sloths, has now reached 5,000 children! We offer sloth lessons via zoom, and if this sounds like something you or some children you know are interested in, please contact us.

Part of SloCo’s educational outreach program is the Kukula Club, where children can meet in person to learn about how sloths live and are studied in the wild. One of the most popular activities is learning about using radio frequency technology to track sloths. 

 

To do this, we hide a stuffed sloth wearing a radio collar, and the kids get to find it using the portable antenna and radio receiver box. Future sloth scientists in the making!

 

 

Sloth Crossing Team Goes to the Pacific!

Our Bridge Team traveled to Ojochal and Uvita on the Pacific side of Costa Rica to install some wildlife bridges and managed to put up eight bridges in four days, including one at Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. Go team!  Special thanks to Reserva Playa Tortuga who helped us organize and coordinate this trip!  

 

 

While we were there, SloCo also visited this amazing school Life Project Education at Ojochal and had a great time meeting all the amazing children who attend.

 

 

This school has bought the plot of land next door in order to save it from deforestation, and the students have started to reforest it. We built a sloth crossing bridge to help wildlife until the trees are big enough to create a natural canopy connection!

 

Our latest “versus” blog is out!

This time we have sloths vs red pandas! Can you think of any similarities between the two species? Check out the blog for some surprising comparisons. Support our friends from The Red Panda Network and their amazing work to protect these incredible animals!

 

 

Does this ancient cave art represent a giant ground sloth with its baby?

 

Ice Age megafauna rock art in the Colombian Amazon? José Iriarte, Michael J. Ziegler, Alan K. Outram, Mark Robinson, Patrick Roberts, Francisco J. Aceituno, Gaspar Morcote-Ríos and T. Michael Keesey.

Beautiful cave paintings in Colombia have sparked some controversy, but we want to know what you think. Giant ground sloth? Abstract art? Proof of extraterrestrial life visiting planet Earth? Find out in our latest paleo sloths entry.

  • Read More: Prehistoric Rock Art Might be Early Representations of Giant Ground Sloths

 

This is not fine!

 

The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report has brought us some scary news that many of us were aware of, but can now confirm. Many impacts of global warming are now simply “irreversible” according to the UN’s latest assessment. If by 2025 global emissions haven’t dropped, we will all be facing catastrophic climate events.

 

sloth meme this is not fine

 

 

This report has demonstrated the importance of demanding global environmental change from our leaders. We need governments and large corporations to move at a faster pace to impact positive global change rather, because the sloth pace we are currently going at isn’t working. Sloths can’t outrun climate change!

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Big Wild Thought is an amazing company helping so many animals all around the world. Their clothing is of beautiful quality with delicately embroidered animals, and we love it. Head over to their page to check out their sloth attire, 10% of all proceeds will be donated to helping us help sloths! 

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donate monthly

 

Have you considered a monthly donation to your favorite conservation program? Monthly gifts help us ensure all our projects are funded and organize our budget more efficiently!

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Thank you so much for tuning into this month’s newsletter, and we’ll see you again next month with more weird adventures from the jungle. Summer begins the nice, easy, slow season down here, and we are all looking forward to less traffic, beautiful weather (maybe), and taking lessons from the sloths about taking it easy. Cheers!

 

-SloCo Team

Tales From the Jungle: March 2022

Tales From the Jungle: March 2022

Biggest news!

We are very proud to announce that the Founder and Executive Director of SloCo, Dr. Rebecca Cliffe, is a proud recipient of the prestigious 2022 Future for Nature Award!

 

 

Joining her this year are Tiasa Adhya of India, and Gabriel Massocato of Brazil, each of whom will receive €50,000! If you want to know more about what SloCo is doing with our prize money, read this blog here. (Spoiler: it’s got sloths in it, dogs, and some cutting-edge science. Good stuff.)

2021 Annual Report!

Is finally here! In this 26-page document we give you a complete review of our last years’ worth of achievements, highlights, finances, and more! We understand that it is important for you to know that your donations are being used in the most effective way possible to help sloths.

annual report

 

We present to you our latest Annual Report –click the link below to see a full breakdown of everything that happened for Team Sloth in 2021.

Our Sloth Crossing Team has a new personal best

On March 16th our bridge-building managed to install no less than FIVE bridges in one day, while simultaneously planting 30 sloth-friendly trees!

 

 

Sometimes bridge-building is very unpredictable, and the trees can make it quite difficult to set up guidelines or even find the right branches to climb. It can occasionally take up to four hours to finish one single bridge, depending on factors such as the weather, the trees, the sightlines of the giant guideline-setting slingshot, or the daily Angry Monkey Quotient.

Launching camera trap project

We are super excited to begin this phase of our new research project! Thanks to our Sloth Crossings Community we are finally able to begin recording all the animals using our Sloth Bridges and share with you pictures of all the jungle wildlife that creeps and crawls and climbs high above us in the canopy.

 

We have a special thanks to the Krueger Family who sacrificed space in their luggage to safely bring down our camera traps and deliver them to us here in Costa Rica. Thank you, Krueger Family!

 

 

At the moment we have exactly 13 camera traps to cover 150 bridges. The math on this means that either each bridge is going to get a fraction of a camera (probably not very effective), or else, you guessed it—we’re going to need more cameras! For now we are grateful and excited to get set up on some of our bridges, and we’ll send you those pictures as soon as we have them.

If you’d like to help us see what we’re missing on the other 137 bridges, click the link below to donate to this project:

Education Outreach

This month we launched our latest educational project, the Kukula Kids’ Club! This club is open to 10 to 15 children from the local community to join us on weekly activities that range from art classes and snake identification to visits to rescue centers, jungle walks, and science games! It’s exactly the sort of expanded extracurricular activities we all wish we could have had as kids; nerdy, outdoorsy, artsy—and with lots of potentials to open up opportunities in science and conservation.

 

 

This month we also went to Siquirres, a town about two hours from SloCo headquarters. There, our teachers Kassandra and Sarah brought some fun sloth and science education to over 160 kids between the ages of 6 to 12 from the school Escuela Antonio Fernández Gamboa.

 

 

We’re happy to announce that our popular booklet “Solcky and Marley the amazing sloths” is now available (and free!) to download in German! By the end of this year, we’ll also have the Italian and Portuguese versions ready as well.

 

 

Fails of the month

Nacho left the USP

Sadly, we had to make the decision this month to remove Nacho from the Urban Sloth Project—not due to any failure on Nacho’s part, but because he kept having this equipment stolen. The latest piece of tech to walk away was his collar. Taking backpacks and collars off sloths is a job for the professionals, and trust us, it is dangerous even then, and it can be really stressful for the sloths.

 

 

Ultimately, this is another parameter by which we can measure the impact of urbanization on the lives of sloths and we did get a lot of very useful information out of tracking Nacho. To reassure everyone: Nacho is alive and well, and still hanging out in his usual trees around Stanford’s. Although we’re not officially monitoring him, we go downtown and pay a visit to him every other day.

 

Slingshot broke

Our poor slingshot snapped at the last minute,  just a couple of days before our collaboration with ICE at Playa Negra! Bad timing! However, if the jungle teaches you anything, it teaches you to improvise, and Diego stepped in to rescue the project with his homemade slingshot replacement.

 

The tracking team eaten by the jungle

And last but not least, what are some Tales of the Jungle without some jungle trying to eat us all? This month the Tracking Team was hit by the Nefarious Rust Monster in the form of corrosive salty beach breezes, which finally took down Amanda’s motorcycle and forced her to do her tracking on foot.

As if that weren’t enough, the Mad Mud Monster of Heck Swamp got its dirty fingers on Amelia while she was out looking for Baguette, and what looked like an innocent splash of mud turned out to have something in it that gave her a giant rash. As the joke goes, they have cream for that, and we are happy to report that Amelia’s leg is recovering well.

Thank you so much for reading our newsletter, and we’ll see you in the next one!

 

-Sloth Team

Tales from the Jungle: February, Sloth Love Month

Tales from the Jungle: February, Sloth Love Month

February is the month for love. And here at SloCo, we have so many things that we love (besides sloths), including, but not limited to:

Our friends and family of course!

Every day. All of them. Even Cousin Jerry, who does that weird thing with the tuna cans on the front porch.

We love our pets too! Really, we just love all animals.

February 26th is Love Your Pet Day, and February 27th is World Spay and Neuter Day! Help make sure every puppy has a loving home by keeping pet populations manageable.

Caring for our dogs also helps sloths and wildlife. We received a report this month from our friends at Colina Secreta Glamping, members of the Sloth Friendly Network, showing us their dog (a beautiful boxer called Sakura) keeping a safe distance from a sloth that was crawling over a road. Sakura was part of our Dog Academy, proving that education really does work for everybody!

Just like every month since 2019, we are committed to spaying and neutering 10 rescued dogs in our community, free of charge. By humanely controlling the dog population, we can reduce dog attacks on sloths and other wildlife, reduce the number of dogs in the street (and exposed to hazardous traffic), and keep down zoonotic diseases.

Last year we also organized three major castration clinics, and this year we’re aiming to have our first one ready to go by April. If you love dogs and sloths, please consider supporting our Oh My Dog project!

We love Pangolins and how weird they are, just like our beloved sloths!

You can learn more about this in our “Sloth vs Pangolin” blog entry, published on February 19th for World Pangolin Day. (We love that pangolins have their own holiday! How awesome is that?)

We love promoting girls and women in science!

Women are still not fully represented in STEM fields, and here at SloCo we like to lead by example and show girls that they can both study and lead in scientific careers.

February 11th was Girls and Women in Science Day, created to celebrate the importance of making the fields of science and conservation approachable to young girls. Check out these photos of young Becky Cliffe (now Dr. Rebecca Cliffe), as she goes from pointing out frogs on a puddle as a child, to pointing out sloths on the canopy!

Perhaps most of all, we really love finding hope in unexpected places.

This month, after the dust settled on some illegal logging and bulldozers that destroyed a portion of Luna’s territory, we discovered that she has survived the transgression and is thriving.

Not only did our dear Luna survive, but she also gave birth to a new baby! We named her baby “Celeste”.

This has been an important lesson to us humans about the power of resilience. We have been monitoring Luna for almost a year, and she has shown us so much about the power of nature to persevere and regenerate.

Do you know what we love more than installing wildlife bridges?

Seeing sloths use them to cross safely! This month we received several reports of our bridges being utilized by sloths and monkeys, and we couldn’t be happier!

 

So far we’ve installed almost 140 sloth crossing in the South Caribbean of Costa Rica, creating a true grid of connected habitats!

We love Luiza, our newest sloth for the Urban Sloth Project

On February 16th we found a lovely three-fingered sloth on the ground near Luna’s home territory. We took our chances and quickly fitted her with a collar and backpack. If you would like to have updates on Luiza, Luna, and the other eight sloths we are currently monitoring, subscribe to our VIP program!

We hope you enjoyed your Sloth Love Month

And took some time to recharge and spread the love for the rest of the year! Stay tuned for the upcoming emails with more facts, blogs, news, fails, and of course, a lot of sloths!

As always, we want to thank you for your support and tell you how much we love having you. 

And as for me, Kokomo, this is my farewell until the next Sloth Love Month, but always remember to proudly carry the flag of Peace and Love every day of your life.

With sincere sloth love,

-Kokomo
Sloth Love Advisor

Tales from the Jungle: January & February 2022

Tales from the Jungle: January & February 2022

December is usually a month where SloCo runs lean and much of our international team travels home to see family for the holidays, working from computers in the UK, Argentina, Germany, and the United States and sending texts across time zones.

By January most of the team is back in the office and out in the field, on track and with renewed energy to start the year. This year was a bit abnormal. Not that anyone seems to know what normal is anymore, but whatever it is, this January wasn’t it!

This last month approximately 90% of our team either tested positive for COVID or had to quarantine due to close contact with someone who had. It was a bit of a shocker for this area, which up until now had seemed to skate by the pandemic in our happy little tropical bubble, isolated from the worst of it by our limited access to the outside world and healthy, fresh outdoor living.

And then came Omicron.

Just after the holidays, our little town of Puerto Viejo got hit hard by the pandemic. Suddenly, everybody was sick, knew someone who was sick, had friends and neighbors in the hospital, had to quarantine—and as soon as they were out, help run errands and groceries to those who weren’t. Thankfully, everybody at SloCo is fully vaccinated, and we personally escaped with very mild breakthrough cases.

Despite all, we have great news!

Obviously, in this situation, it was extremely difficult to carry out fieldwork, but we nonetheless managed to install ten wildlife bridges, including three spanning the main road along the South Caribbean coast!

We worked in collaboration with ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, the power company) so that we could install bridges over the powerlines, which is especially important to keep animals from being electrocuted. We’ve actually been working on this project since 2020 but hit a few speedbumps along the way in the form of, you know, a global pandemic.

 

 Problem areas

Wildlife crossings help sloths and other animals avoid two of the three biggest sloth killers in the South Caribbean: traffic and powerlines. In the following map, we have highlighted three areas where animals were suffering from high levels of electrocution–all of these spots were identified by locals who reported the incidents to us and asked us to come to install bridges.

 

 

The survival rate for animals that have been electrocuted is very low, but insulating powerlines requires a lot of time and funds, and as a public company ICE’s budget is limited. They recognize this problem and have already invested over $400,000 US in materials to insulate their powerlines and transformers, but this just gets the project started—more funds are needed to see it through to completion.

Since 2019 SloCo has provided over $10,000 to buy the raw materials to insulate powerlines and transformers, and we expect to match this number again this year. Help us achieve this goal in 2022!

Celebrating Sloth Love Month

Celebrating Sloth Love Month! February is the month of romance, and here at SloCo, we’ll be bringing you some slow sloth lovin’ for your February holidays. This month we have some fun facts about sloth mating rituals on our social media, a new entry on our Slothopedia page, love poems, and a special character who will be all the love letters and emails this month: Kokomo

 

sloth love month
Kokomo gets there fast, but then they take it slow…

Impress your loved ones with sloth-themed gifts. Whether it’s for your significant other, a family member, or a friend, whether you’re celebrating Galentine’s or Valentine’s, here are some gifts that give back!

-SloCo Team

Tales from the Jungle: December updates!

Tales from the Jungle: December updates!

Happy December everyone! Wait, how is it December already?

The final months of the year sneak up on us here in the South Caribbean. We don’t have the seasonal markers that signal this time of year in temperate climes—there are no autumn leaves, first frosts, or snowfall. We do get extra tourists, choppy seas, and sometimes plagues of various bugs, but that’s not really the same thing.

Anyway, let’s talk about November because it was a smashing success! We exceeded our expectations in a big way on Giving Tuesday! Wow, thank you!

 

 

As you well know, November and December are the months that determine our annual budget, and more than %85 of that budget comes from our donors. Most conservation organizations rely on grants, government assistance, leases, or big donations from large philanthropic organizations.

We at SloCo are funded by you. We are very proud to have such amazing support and to help bring your vision of a better world to life.

 

Bluetooth(less) Backpacks

SloCo has been supporting the latest research by Professor Gastón Giné and Instituto Tamanduá from Brazil, on the maned sloths that live in the coastal rainforest down there. To this end, SloCo donated 10 specialized GPS sloth backpacks (different from the ones we use in the Urban Sloth Project), that are custom made by a company in Mexico.

They are very expensive ($1,000 each!), and you can probably imagine our trepidation at letting $10,000 worth of equipment go climbing around the rainforest canopy, but that is the only way to get the data we need to see if the maned sloth is as endangered as we think it is.

Much to the dismay of Professor Gaston Giné, in charge of the research, the Bluetooth malfunctioned and the data was unretrievable from the backpacks, which had to be sent all the way back to Mexico for retrieval and repair. Oops!

 

maned sloth backpack

Swamp Tree Trimming

Our Urban Sloth named Croissant moved to a new territory recently to escape some construction and power lines that went up in her old territory, and we are unhappy to report that there has been some new deforestation in her swamp. (Remember Arse End Swamp? That one.) The most infuriating part is that we don’t even know why anyone cut down those trees, since it’s not like they can build anything in the muck!

 

swamp sangrillo

 

ICE Meeting

This month we finally got a meeting with the Costa Rican electric company, ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad), to discuss a new contract to insulate the power lines and transformers in our area, build necessary wildlife bridges over the power lines, and work on awareness campaigns to prevent electrocutions.

For the past 18 months, much work on power line safety has been put on hold due to the Covid pandemic, lockdowns, staff shortages, and general chaos of 2020 (and most of 2021). It took us several months to coordinate this meeting with the regional ICE chief, present our database of electrocuted animals, and prepare a hot spot analysis showing which lines and transformers are posing the greatest risk. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll be signing the new contract in February of 2022! Fingers crossed!

 

ICE powerline bridge

Need some green gift ideas?

Get a gift for the sloth lover in your life! Here are some of our recommendations to not only make a sloth lover happy, but also make actual wild sloths happy!

Order a physical adoption today and receive it in time just for Christmas!

adopt a sloth

 

The adoption includes:

  • A copy of the stunningly beautiful coffee table book “Sloths: Life in the Slow Lane’
  • A printed biography of your chosen sloth
  • A photo of your chosen sloth
  • A personalized adoption certificate

Adopt a Sloth today!

 

If your loved one needs a gift that keeps on giving the whole year long, consider making them a Very Important Partner of our Urban Sloth Project! VIP members receive monthly updates on the sloths we’re monitoring for our Urban Sloth Project.

 

adopt a sloth subscribe

Delivered straight to your inbox (so as to save on trees), this includes biographies, photos, access to exclusive Q&A sessions, illustrations, and exclusive updates from our team in the field. Find out all about the latest adventures of our beloved Urbans Sloths: Mango, Nacho, Croissant, Baguette, Alan, and Arthur!

Join the VIP community!

 

Tales From the Jungle: Slothober

Tales From the Jungle: Slothober

What a wild month we’ve had! We got it through Slothtober with flying colors and even hosted the first-ever International Sloth Festival— if you didn’t manage to join us in person or online, check out our social media for details, pictures, and some great art. We’re so grateful to everyone involved, this success couldn’t have happened without you! Now, let’s talk about all the crazy stuff that’s happened this October.

Wow! Major Donation!

We are extremely happy to announce our biggest donation yet from our friends The Slow Patrol, who donated $50,000 from the sale of their NFT sloth collection! This is going to have a HUGE positive impact on our projects. Thank You Slow Patrol!

 

The 1st International Sloth Fest!

We are proud to announce that the first-ever International Sloth Festival was a great success. It was hosted at Tasty Waves (yes, that Tasty Waves, former home of our Urban Sloth Nacho) who have always been enthusiastic supporters of SloCo and other wildlife conservationists in the area.

 

sloth festival

 

Our children’s activities included face painting, coloring books, Pin-the-Moth-on-the-Sloth, and the hugely popular “Sloth Trail”, where kids helped our educator Kassandra find a stuffed animal sloth fitted out with one of our radio collars.

They got to see how our radio receiver and antenna work and get a little taste of what Urban Sloth tracking is like. We left out the swamps and mud puddles though, kids can usually find those without any help.

 

sloth tracking with children

 

Of interest to all ages was our photo booth, an appearance by our mascot Siesta the Sloth, and the installation of a sloth crossing bridge right in front of Tasty Waves! Now Tiki, the current resident sloth, doesn’t have to climb along with the lights when he wants to move between trees. Our climbing team really rocked it with the bridge demonstration, getting up and down the trees and showing us all how to rappel safely.

 

siesta sloth festival
Thanks to Floppy Hat Adventures for the photos!

 

Dog trainer and specialist Anthony Vado ran the Oh My Dog booth, giving tips, advice, and education about how to be a responsible pet owner whose dog is happy, healthy, and doesn’t harass wildlife.

 

sloth oh my dog

 

Also as part of our Oh My Dog project we had a special Dog Olympics, where humans and canines alike got to have some fun and exercise on the beach and show off their dog’s obedience training.

 

oh my dog olympics

 

Especially popular was our second Slow Raffle where people won some really amazing prizes; accommodations at luxury hotels, gift certificates to local restaurants, savory Costa Rican coffee, clothes, t-shirts, and more! The raffle raised over $1000, and offered a chance for our supporters to show off some of the best that Puerto Viejo has to offer. We want to give a special thank you to the sponsors of the raffle:

 

Sloths are international!

Though our in-person events for the festival were based here in Puerto Viejo, our online events were enjoyed all over the world: we spent Sloth Week collaborating with other amazing organizations, personalities, content creators who were hosting fundraisers for us, doing giveaways to their followers and raising awareness about sloths!

 

rebecca and amelia

 

We hosted our first VIP Urban Sloth Project live Q&A with our Ecology Coordinator Amelia and we had a great time! We’re looking forward to organizing more of these before 2021 is over– if you’re not yet part of the VIP community, join here!

FAILS OF THE MONTH:

Jungle WIFI:

Sometimes we have great Wi-Fi access with good equipment transmitted along state-of-the-art fiber optic lines… and sometimes it feels like our internet is the equivalent of two coconuts strung together with a bit of wire. As luck would have it, International Sloth Day was one of the latter, and we lost connection several times while trying to host our Q&As and live streaming events.

 

jungle wifi

 

TIKI: slow TIMING

Tiki is a two-fingered sloth who lives above Tasty Waves— she was Nacho’s neighbor before he took off for other bars closer to town. Tiki was the guest of honor at Sloth Fest, where she served as an educational model for many of our guests as we pointed out her many cool features. For her part, she spent the entire festival sleeping in her favorite sea almond tree above the bar.

 

tiki urban sloth

 

Around 7 pm, several hours after the festival was over, the bar closed and everybody went home; and THEN Tiki came down from the tree! If she’d done this earlier we could have had a great learning opportunity for everyone about how to safely keep your distance from wild sloths and not stress them out. Alas, sloths do things on their own time! 

 

PEOPLE didn’t want to leave

The Sloth Festival was such a great success that we were on our toes making sure that our space stayed under Covid-restrictions capacity because so many people came to see us or stopped by on their way somewhere else. Then they had such fun they all wanted to stay! And we wanted them to stay! but all good things must end, and with Covid restrictions being what they are, everything ended sooner than we all wanted. People were having so much fun we had trouble getting them to leave!

 

sloth festival

A lot to be grateful for

The International Sloth Fest wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless support of our friends at Tasty Waves. Not only do they provide housing for the likes of Nacho and Tiki, but they also lent us their space to host the festival and put in some long hours on what was supposed to be their day off. Thank you Bryton and Lydia! You are the best!

 

May be an image of 2 people, people standing and outdoors

 

Another special shout out to Sloth Toes, a local brand with the very best in sloth-themed clothes and accessories. Sloth Toes donated 50 shirts and over 100 stickers to SloCo to be sold at the festival! Check out their online store and get a sweet sloth t-shirt!

 

sloth festival

 

Many thanks also go to the local organizations that came to the festival to educate and raise awareness of other conservation issues of the South Caribbean: Coral Conservation, BIOtiful Future, and Blue Youth. Many volunteers kindly give their time and effort to make this happen: you guys are heroes!

We are grateful to all of the organizations, content creators, newspapers, blogs, and personalities who worked with us during this month to share sloth love and awareness on their platforms. Interconnectivity is so important, and your collaboration is what keeps us going.

 

sloth festival

 

Last but not least, we want to thank YOU, dear reader, for being part of Team Sloth!

Thank you for your support and for your immense presence in our social media channels. To you, who donate, sponsor a project, adopt a sloth, read our blogs, comment, and share our content on social media. To you, sloth lover, who makes it possible for wild sloths to continue to exist and have a future!

Organizing Sloth Fest was a labor of immense love, a few mistakes, and a lot of sleepless nights. We live and learn, and we’ve already set our sights on an even bigger and better SECOND International Sloth Fest! With better internet, more guests, more booths, more events, more speakers, more collaborating organizations—and hopefully, a world with more sloths.

 

All the best from the jungle,

Rebecca Cliffe.

 

 

Tales from the Jungle: July 2021

Tales from the Jungle: July 2021

July is always an eventful month for Team Sloth, but we weren’t prepared for what was lurking around the corner this year!

Things got off to a good start as we celebrated an important symbolic achievement and a huge milestone for one of our projects.

Unfortunately, we also experienced the wrath of Mother Nature in all her glory – with earthquakes, tropical storms, and severe flooding leaving our team stranded!

A new national symbol!

July got off to a great start with Costa Rica declaring the sloth as their new official national symbol! This means increased protection, awareness, and more funding for conservation and research (hooray)! We are proud to have been involved in this project as consultants for the Legislative Assembly. You can read more about our contributions and suggestions here.

 

national symbol costa rica

100 Sloth Crossings!

This month we also installed our 100th Sloth Crossing – that is 100 new places where sloths can now move safely from tree to tree! We couldn’t have done this without our incredible Sloth Crossing donors and sponsors – thank you! By joining our Sloth Crossing community you can receive exclusive updates, photos, and videos from our network of wildlife bridges (find out more using the links below):

 

sloth crossings

More Castration Clinics!

Our ‘Oh My Dog’ team continued to make waves this month by hosting their 4th major dog castration clinic in the last 12 weeks. 42 vulnerable dogs were spayed and neutered in one day at an indigenous community center in the South Caribbean! This project helps to reduce the stray dog population in the region which is a major threat to all types of wildlife – including sloths!

 

 

dog

 

Teaching old dogs new tricks!

Our dedicated dog team also ran our second “Oh My Dog Academy” training course this month which kept everybody on their toes – including the dogs! We provide these specialized training courses for free to local communities and aim to prevent problematic dogs from attacking wildlife. Through these courses, we have already trained over 60 dogs in the South Caribbean!

 

dog

 

 

The meaning of volunteering

“After we get around the sewage pipe, make a jump for the mud bank. You have boots, right? I think it’s only about ankle-deep,” Sarah tells me as she maneuvers around the chest-height pipe. “But watch out for the live electrical wire. And the bees.”

SloCo volunteer Ames has written another entertaining blog entry about life on our sloth tracking team!

 

binoculars tracking

 

 

 

What Went Wrong…

Apparently, it isn’t always sunshine and sloths in the Caribbean! Here we reflect back on some of the things that didn’t quite go to plan this month…

 

When it rains… it pours! 

Last week the South Caribbean was battered by multiple tropical storms which brought record-breaking rainfall to the region. The floods were catastrophic and thousands of people were seeking refuge in emergency shelters. Thankfully Team Sloth are all safe and well – albeit a little bedraggled.

 

Albergues suman casi 100 personas atendidas por graves inundaciones en Limón | AMPrensa.com

Cut off from the world!

During the storms, the only bridge that connects the South Caribbean to the rest of the country collapsed leaving the entire region isolated and underwater. Unfortunately, this means that half of Team Sloth have been unable to return home, and we are still waiting for the authorities to reconnect the road! EDIT: The bridge is now fixed!

 

Puente que colapsó por lluvias fue declarado en condición “alarmante” desde 2018
Photo: crhoy.com

An unexpected rescue

During our castration clinic, a man arrived with two dogs in terrible condition (one was found inside a tied bag). Upon seeing this suffering, Team Sloth persuaded the man to surrender his dogs so that we could find them loving homes. Sadly one of them didn’t survive the ordeal, but we were able to rescue the other one and she has now been adopted by a wonderful family!

 

The jungle Vs electronics.

The battle between the jungle and modern technology continues…! The warm, humid conditions destroy electronic equipment at an alarming rate, and the latest victim was our tracking receiver! This is a vital piece of very expensive equipment that we were horrified to find malfunctioning! Thankfully we have an old spare to use while our main unit is repaired.

 

tracking receiver

 

Shaking things up!

Just days before the tropical storms hit, the South Caribbean was also rattled by a magnitude 7 earthquake which gave everyone a good fright! Thankfully there was no major damage or injuries, but it was a good wake-up call to remind us of the strength of Mother Nature!

 

Almacén Super Negro, Home Creek - YouTube

An Extreme month

July was a month marked by extreme weather events in a region which usually enjoys a relatively calm tropical climate. Species like sloths which have evolved to live in these warm and stable conditions often struggle when faced with big changes in the environment.

It seems like every day we hear new reports of extreme weather and natural disasters shaking the world. Every now and then these incidents touch us closely, and unfortunately, the frequency and intensity of these extreme events are increasing.

Anthropogenic global warming is a threat we have to take seriously, as is the loss of biodiversity. Thankfully we are a resilient species, and we know that we can achieve incredible things when we choose to work together.

We don’t yet fully understand the impact that the storms have had on sloth populations in the South Caribbean, but we will continue to do everything that we can to help.

We are looking forward to enjoying a drier and hopefully less dramatic August – I look forward to sharing our progress with you!

 

All the best from the jungles of Costa Rica,

Rebecca Cliffe

Founder and Executive Director

Tales from the Jungle: June 2021

Tales From the Jungle: June 2021

A month to remember…

June has been an emotional rollercoaster for Team Sloth. We sadly witnessed some of the most cruel, greedy, and reckless sides of humanity, but we also managed to achieve some fantastic breakthroughs for sloth conservation.

The month started with us discovering that one of our sloth study sites had been completely (and illegally) deforested. One of the few remaining green areas in the South Caribbean cleared for development and profit – leaving countless sloths homeless and stranded.

 

deforestation

 

One sloth was trapped on power lines, while 4 others were found sitting on the ground in isolated bushes surrounded by dogs (including a mom with a small baby). All of them had to be relocated to a nearby patch of forest.

 

powerlines

 

We saw other sloths pushed into tiny remaining forest fragments surrounded by roads and concrete. 5, 6 sometimes 7 sloths all trying to share one tree and fighting over space.

 

sloth in fence deforestation

 

And to top it all off, we then found two violent and drunk men attacking a female sloth with her newborn baby – and when we tried to intervene, they got aggressive with us. There was nothing we could do except alert the relevant authorities and hope they eventually stopped.

 

exploitation

 

Thankfully, after what felt like an eternity, the men left her alone and she was able to climb safely back up the tree. Although she was clearly very frightened and stressed out, she didn’t appear to have any physical injuries.

 

deforestation

 

While situations like these often leave us feeling utterly hopeless and deflated, we will not give up. We must remember that meaningful and permanent change takes time, and saving sloths isn’t just about working with the sloths themselves. We have to consider the ecosystem as a whole – and that includes humans.

It is after witnessing heartbreaking moments like this that we feel more determined than ever to push forwards with our projects and fight for a brighter future. Thankfully, the rest of June was much less gloomy (but equally as chaotic – as usual)!

 

mom baby
When you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up! This mom and baby two-fingered sloth were rescued from a bush surrounded by dogs after their home was cut down. They were released into a safe forested area.

 

June Highlights

tortugueroExpanding into Tortuguero

Last month we expanded our sloth conservation efforts to include Tortuguero (where there is no road access, and 3000 dogs live alongside just 1600 people). We ran a major dog castration and vaccination clinic, built some Sloth Crossing bridges, gave education materials to the local children, and also hosted a beach clean-up event! In case you missed our previous newsletter, you can read about it here.

 

 

 

Loving All Sloths!

June is Pride Month, and here at SloCo we celebrate and love diversity! We are a diverse team with people from different identities, backgrounds, ethnicities, and nationalities. Ames is one of our volunteers for the Urban Sloth Project and he has written this short (and very entertaining) blog describing a day in the life of a volunteer at SloCo!

 

 

 

 

castrationMore Castration Clinics!

As we continue with our mission to reduce the number of dog attacks on wild sloths, we held two more major castration clinics this month to spay and neuter dogs in the Caribbean. Over the course of one day, Team Sloth castrated over 70 dogs from rural indigenous territories – which brings our grand total to almost 200 dogs spayed and neutered in the last 2 months!

 

 

 

 

Where the Jungle meets the Sea

This month we embarked on a major reforestation effort along the beaches of the South Caribbean in collaboration with local non-profit Coral Conservation. With the help of 40 volunteers from the local community, we planted over 200 sloth-friendly trees along the beach to mitigate the impacts of ocean erosion and global warming on coastal sloth habitats!

 

 

 

 

Beach Bridges

This month we received official permission from the Costa Rican government to install 20 new wildlife bridges in public areas along the beach in the South Caribbean. This important strip of the forest is protected by law and is home to a large sloth population but has recently become fragmented due to coastal erosion and illegal developments!

 

 

 

 

babyMore Urban Sloths!

This month we expanded our Urban Sloth Project by adding FOUR new feisty sloths to the mix! We will introduce each sloth’s story in a separate newsletter next week, but the four newbies include Arthur, Mango, Nacho, and Baguette (there is apparently a food theme emerging with our sloth names)! They all live in different levels of “urban” habitats and will be teaching us a lot over the next 2 years!

 

 

 

 

What Went Wrong

As always, it was not all sunshine and sloths this month! Here are our favorite fails of June…. because we believe that success stories are not the only kind that needs to be shared!

 

Are you afraid of spider… monkeys?

While dangling over 30 meters in the air installing a Sloth Crossing, Team Sloth’s Tamara had a very close encounter with a troop of angry spider monkeys. Thankfully she managed to make a quick descent from the canopy using the safety ropes  – you can never say it’s boring working for Team Sloth! You can read the full story here.

 

 

 

Slingshot fail

This massive slingshot is crucial for installing wildlife bridges as it helps us to launch the ropes high in the trees. For Team Sloth’s trip to Tortuguero this month it was the most important item on the packing list… but of course it was the only item we forgot! Thankfully, our creative team managed to build those bridges anyway!

 

 

 

 

Stuck in the mud

Working in the jungle is never easy, which is why we need to use all-terrain vehicles. Unfortunately, the slippery jungle mud and heavy rain proved too much for the SloCo 4×4 this month and we spent a lot of time stuck in the mud (of course this happened at the most inconvenient time possible while all the sloth action was unfolding)!

 

 

 

 

A tetanus shot needed!

Tracking Urban Sloths might sound easy, but we quickly discovered that is not the case. One of our new sloths has made the questionable decision to live in trees surrounded by a stinking swamp and a rusty barbed wire fence. While trying to reach her, I got myself tangled in the fence and needed to get an emergency tetanus shot!

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about our highs (and lows) this month. While June undoubtedly started off on a bad note, we certainly ended on a positive and we are determined to continue moving forwards and doing everything in our power to make a difference.

We couldn’t do it without you – so thank you for your ongoing support. We will be back with more updates soon, but for now, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

 

All the best from the jungles of Costa Rica,

 

Dr. Rebecca Cliffe