Tales from the Jungle: May Update!

Dogs, Goats, and Missing Sloths

Team Sloth have been the opposite of slothful this month – we have been chasing invisible sloths through the jungle, carrying out emergency surgeries, castrating dogs and we were shamefully outsmarted by a herd of hungry goats. Read on below to learn about our biggest successes and failures this month!

Sloth Crossing in Action!

 

 

 

We use remote camera trap technology to monitor our Sloth Crossing wildlife bridges, and this month we were delighted to discover that one of our bridges has turned into a major highway for lots of different species – including both species of sloth, monkeys, and even kinkajous! Click here to view the images!

 

Our First Castration Clinic!

 

dog castration

 

After months of preparation, we were finally able to host our first castration clinic this month in collaboration with veterinarian Ileana Núñez Ulate.  We were able to castrate dogs for 21 local indigenous families in the South Caribbean which will help to reduce the number of dog attacks on sloths in the future!

 

Tarzan’s Return to the Jungle!

 

surgery sloth

Tarzan is a three-fingered sloth that arrived to a local rescue center with a badly broken arm. He needed specialized surgery to repair the bones, but the rescue center did not have the funds available due to the ongoing pandemic. We were delighted to step in and fund Tarzan’s surgery, and he is now recovering and preparing for release back into the wild!

 

Chasing Sloths with Suzi

 

suzi eszterhas sloth

This month we are also delighted to host world-renowned wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas who is here in the South Caribbean photographing sloths and the conservation problems that they face. We will be able to share her images with you soon, so stay tuned! You can also check out her work to support young girls in wildlife photography: ‘Girls Who Click’!

 

Back to School!

 

school south caribbean

 

We were relieved this month to be able to resume our in-person sloth lessons in local schools in Costa Rica! We are also happy to have welcomed Kassandra into Team Sloth as our new Education Officer in the South Caribbean! Don’t forget – if you are a teacher you can still contact us to organize a free virtual lesson (in English or Spanish) wherever in the world you are!

 

Reforestation Records!

 

 

This month we planted our 700th tree since the beginning of 2021 and connected 28 new properties as wildlife corridors in the South Caribbean! We have also formed new partnerships with other local organizations with the joint aim to reforest coastal areas. This will help not only sloths but also many other species – including endangered sea turtles!

Check out this map to see our tree plantations and wildlife bridges!

New Sloth Backpack!

 

backpack

 

Earlier this week we were fortunate enough to find Alan – one of our Urban Sloths – sleeping very low down near the ground! This was the perfect opportunity for us to give him a full health check and also fit him with a brand new Sloth Backpack! He will wear this backpack for the next 3 weeks and he will hopefully teach us a lot about urban sloth ecology!

 

What Went Wrong

It isn’t always sunshine and sloths! Here are our ultimate fails this month…. because we believe that success stories are not the only kind that needs to be shared!

 

You’ve Goat to be kidding me

 

Whenever we plant trees, we always monitor the health of the saplings for the first few years to ensure survival. Unfortunately, we didn’t anticipate a goat invasion. One concerned property owner called us this month because some goats had broken onto his land and eaten all the trees we planted…!

 

Sloth School shut down

 

school education

Just 3 days after we finally resumed our in-person sloth school education program, the authorities of Costa Rica announced that schools would be immediately suspended again due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. Sometimes we just have to channel our inner sloth and be patient…

 

A Surprise Setback

 

dog castration

Our first castration clinic turned into a marathon 12-hour day when our vet discovered a severe uterus infection in the very first dog! We had to complete an emergency surgery to save the dog’s life, but thankfully everything went well (and we had plenty of coffee on hand to keep the team going)!

 

Missing In Action

 

backpack

We know that sloths are good at hiding, but we are usually able to find them if we look long and hard enough! Unfortunately, Arthur (the latest addition to our Urban Sloth Project) decided to challenge us on that fact. After we released him, he managed to avoid detection for 4 full weeks!

 

Taxidermy Fail

 

harpy eagle museum taxidermy

While this is not technically a failure on our part, we thought it deserved a place on this list! On a recent visit to the Costa Rican Natural History Museum, Team Sloth discovered some quite spectacular sloth taxidermy on display. Words can’t really do this justice – see them for yourself in our blog post!

 

I hope that you have enjoyed our updates this month – what a busy month it has been! We already have a lot of exciting events lined up for June, including expanding our sloth conservation efforts to include a whole new region of Costa Rica! I look forward to sharing more updates with you soon and thank you as always for continuing to support our work. We couldn’t do any of this without you!

All the best from the jungles of Costa Rica,
Dr. Rebecca Cliffe
Founder and Executive Director

Tales from the Jungle: April 2021

A Month of Highs and Lows

I need to start by sharing with you some sad news. If you follow our updates then you might remember a sloth called Cacao – he was one of the new additions to our Urban Sloth Project in January and, as his name suggests, he loved to feast on cacao pods in a local garden in the South Caribbean.

Sadly, just three months after we fitted him with a Sloth BackpackCacao was attacked by a dog and didn’t survive. 

This was not only heartbreaking for our research team here in Costa Rica, but it also suggests that the mortality rate of sloths in urban areas might be much higher than we ever anticipated. We have known for a long time that sloth populations in human-inhabited areas are declining quickly, but we didn’t expect to lose our study sloths so quickly.

Events like this serve to remind us why our work is so important. It is one of the main reasons why we launched the Urban Sloth Project, and it is why we have decided to triple our efforts this year to reduce the number of dog attacks on wildlife.

cacao
Thankfully, we also have some positive news to share with you this month! Check out our April highlights below:

Have you heard about the maned sloths?

They have the size, strength, and ferocity of a two-fingered sloth, but the physical appearance of a three-fingered sloth.
It is a species that no one really knows anything about, and they are the most endangered species among the continental sloths.

While our SloCo headquarters are based in Costa Rica, we are committed to conserving all 6 extant species of sloth that are found throughout South and Central America. Last month we were delighted to launch an exciting new project in Brazil to carry out important research into maned sloth ecology.  Click here to learn more about the maned sloths and see what happened when Team Sloth traveled to Brazil! 

maned sloth
Professor Gastón Giné prior to release the sloth after being tagged.

Arthur joins the Urban Sloth Project!

This handsome male is the latest sloth to be equipped with a Sloth Backpack as a part of our Urban Sloth Project! He lives in the beautiful gardens of a local property which we think will be a great model for how humans and wildlife can coexist peacefully!

 

sloth

 

Pawsome Pals:

1 month after running our first free dog training course in the local community, we went to visit the 40 dogs and their owners who participated to see how they were progressing. We were delighted to see significant improvements in the dogs’ behaviors, and some owners had even made their homes sloth friendly by installing wildlife bridges!

 

 

Celebrating Earth Day 2021!

This month we joined forces with other local organizations in the South Caribbean to clean up the beaches and restore coastal sloth habitats by planting trees! This area has now been awarded Blue Flag Accreditation by the Costarican Institute of tourism which recognizes sustainable development and community engagement in conservation!

Giant sloths with armored skins?

If you thought that sloths couldn’t get any weirder – you were wrong! Argentinian scientists used X-rays on a 13,000-year-old ‘mummified’ sloth skin and discovered thousands of tiny bones on the inside. It is thought that these bones worked as a kind of armor that would still enable movement. Check out our blog post to learn more!

 

 

What Went Wrong

We also like to confess our ultimate #fails of the month…. because we believe that success stories are not the only kind that needs to be shared!

Ouch! My Dog!

Tamara (our dog training manager) got bitten by one of the dogs on the course this month! Luckily the bite was superficial and she handled it very well. This dog has a sad history of being abused which means he requires a lot of love and training. Despise this little setback, he is still improving his social skills through our program!

 

 

Itching and Burning!

While tracking one of our collared sloths through the jungle this month, Amelia (Team Sloth’s Ecology coordinator) accidentally fell into the middle of a giant Ortiga bush. This plant is a type of aggressive jungle nettle and touching the leaves causes red blisters and severe itching for days afterwards!

 

Sloth Selfie Fail

Whenever we install a Sloth Crossing, we also install camera traps so that we can see any animals using the bridge. When checking the footage this month we were delighted to see a sloth using one of our bridges… but unfortunately, the camera was placed incorrectly and all we got was a close-up of this sloth’s backside!

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed our tales from the jungle this month and I look forward to sharing more with you soon. Although this month was difficult with the loss of Cacao, we are more determined than ever to make his life matter.

We will continue our fight to ensure that sloths are able to safely navigate the places we share with them, and hopefully, we can prevent this from happening again in the future.

All the best from the jungles of Costa Rica,

 

Dr. Rebecca Cliffe
Founder and Executive Director

Tales from the Jungle: March 2021

Tales From the Jungle: March 2021

While we talk a lot about transparency as a non-profit organization, we tend to only celebrate the great things that we do. But of course – mistakes happen! We believe that there is more value in sharing these failures rather than simply sweeping them under the rug, and so this month we are excited to introduce you to our first-ever ‘what went wrong‘ feature (scroll down to see Team Sloth’s biggest fails this month!). But first, here are some of our favorite highlights from March:

Introducing Luna and Sol 

The cute new additions to our Urban Sloth Project! Luna’s home is divided by a major highway that she risks her life by crossing every week. When we found her by the side of the road this month, we decided to fit her with a tracking collar so that we can follow her and her baby’s movements every day. She will be able to teach us so much about how sloths are coping with rainforest development. 

Launching the ‘Street by Street’ initiative

Last week we launched our latest project which aims to make every property on a given street as wildlife-friendly as possible. By focusing our efforts on a different street each month, we are able to effectively target specific areas and work outwards to ensure the canopy is connected, trees are plentiful, dogs are trained not to attack wildlife, and power lines are insulated!

Castration Clinics 

As dog attacks are a rapidly growing problem for sloth conservation, we are organizing 4 major castration clinics to sterilize dogs in low-income and indigenous areas. Last week we met with the Mayor of Talamanca and the regional heads of SENASA (who are in control of domestic animals in Costa Rica). It was an incredibly important meeting and is a big step in the right direction to fulfilling this goal!

Oh My Dog! Academy

Last week we brought in professional dog trainers to help us provide free training courses for local dog owners and to prevent future attacks on sloths. We taught over 30 dogs (…and their humans, since really it is the humans who need the training, not the dogs) and we hope to be able to host many more academy courses throughout the year!

What Went Wrong 

Team Sloth’s ultimate #fails of the month…. because we believe that success stories are not the only kind that needs to be shared!

 

Noisy Neighbours! 

The theory classes for our ‘Oh My Dog! Academy’ unfortunately coincided with a new construction project outside the Academy building. We couldn’t hear ourselves think, nevermind teach 30 hot and bothered dog owners! Thankfully our team muddled through the chaos, but there were a few hoarse voices by the end of the week!

Bee Attack! 

While tracking one of our collared sloths this month, our research team accidentally stumbled into a hive of africanized “killer” bees! The bees swarmed and our team got a lot of stings, but thankfully everyone was OK! In the future, the Costa Rican ‘Bomberos’ (fire department) have agreed to loan us protective bee clothing!

Bad Timing! 

The first day of our ‘Street by Street’ initiative was not as successful as we had hoped. Team Sloth stood for hours under the hot sun without many results. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we soon discovered that the campaign is much more successful when carried out in the early morning and late afternoon (rather than the middle of the day)!

I hope you enjoyed these updates

I look forward to sharing more with you soon. If you follow us on social media you might already know that Team Sloth embarked on a very exciting expedition to help the vulnerable maned sloths of Brazil this month – I will tell you much more about that adventure in our next newsletter!

As always, thank you for your continued support – we couldn’t do any of this without you! 

All the best from the jungles of Costa Rica,
Dr. Rebecca Cliffe
Founder and Executive Director

Tales From the Jungle: February 2021

Tales From the Jungle: February 2021

 

New Year, New Goals… New Sloths! 

After waving goodbye to 2020, we have jumped into 2021 with renewed energy and vigor to propel us forward in our mission. While the sloths we work with may move slowly, our team in Costa Rica certainly do not.

We have already added THREE new sloths to our Urban Sloth Project this month (keep on reading below to meet the new sloths), and we are beginning the third expansion on our forest nursery!

You might remember that in November last year we kickstarted our ground-breaking new research program (the Urban Sloth Project) by fitting a tracking collar on a feisty young sloth called Sharon.

This project is a long-term investigation that we are carrying out in collaboration with the Costa Rican government to assess the impacts of habitat disturbance on the behavior of wild sloths.

Today I am delighted to announce that we have expanded this important project, and Sharon has been joined by Alan, Croissant, and Cacao!

Croissant is a calm and gentle three-fingered sloth that lives in the center of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca – a small town in the South Caribbean of Costa Rica. She was found in a small tree behind a bakery that sells delicious croissants, surrounded by new developments and illegal deforestation.
Alan is a young, wild three-fingered sloth that lives in the forested gardens of La Kukula Lodge (with ‘kukula’ meaning sloth in the local indigenous language) and can be found sleeping in his favorite Cecropia tree every single morning. Alan is just starting to develop the brightly colored speculum that all male three-fingered sloths develop at sexual maturity! 
Cacao is a large, male two-fingered sloth who knows exactly how to look after himself! He is reguarly found feeding from cacao pods in a local garden in the South Caribbean, and he is the first sloth to be equipped with a Sloth Backpack as a part of this project! 

Introducing the ´Sloth Backpacks

 A ‘Sloth Backpack’ is a small, made-to-measure harness that contains a micro-datalogger called a ‘Daily Diary’. The Daily Diary logger records 8 different parameters over 40 times a second (that’s almost 28 million data points a day!). The data logger is contained within a small 3D printed housing that is designed and built specifically for this project – unique for each sloth! 

 

We will be using the data collected to compare the behavior and survivability of sloths living in highly urbanized areas with those sloths living in healthier environments (protected primary rainforests).

We are looking at how much time these sloths spend in different behaviors, what tree species they are using, how far they are having to move to find food, how much time they are spending on the ground vs in the canopy, and how their behaviors are being impacted by noise and light pollution.

 

 

You will soon be able to adopt Croissant, Alan and Cacao as a part of our VIP sloth adoption program and receive regular updates about their progress! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, sloth adoptions like this make an amazing gift for any animal lover – with 100% of the adoption proceeds benefiting our sloth conservation efforts! 

If you adopt a sloth now, the physical adoption package can be delivered directly to you (or your partner’s house) just in time for the big day!

Adopt a Sloth

We have ambitious plans for 2021 and we have started the year as we mean to go on – with enthusiasm and determination! We couldn’t do any of this without your support, so thank you for joining us on this journey and having faith in our work!

As a non-profit organization, we are committed to being accountable and transparent with how your donations are being used to help sloths. We will soon be publishing our 2020 Annual Report which will include a full breakdown of our 2020 financials and project achievements! I look forward to sharing all of this with you next week.

 

All the best from the jungles of Costa Rica,
Dr. Rebecca Cliffe
Founder and Executive Director
 

2020 Annual Report

2020 Annual Report

A record-setting year for sloths!

In 2020 the sloth community raised a record-breaking $270,000 for sloth conservation, and as a result, we were able to educate more children, plant more trees, empower more people and help more sloths than ever before. 

 

sloth conservation report 2020

 

We are incredibly proud of everything that we have managed to achieve together, especially when we consider the unprecedented challenges that we all faced throughout this past year.

From our Sloth Crossing sponsors and Sloth Adopters to one-time donors who gave a special gift during the holiday season – every single supporter played a vital role in making 2020 our most successful year yet.

 

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. For that reason, we are committed to always being completely transparent with our accounts, operations, successes, and failures. 
We are so proud to present our latest Annual Report – click the link below to see a full breakdown of everything that happened for Team Sloth in 2020!

2020 ANNUAL REPORT

 

2020 was a big year for us, but we believe this is only the beginning of what we can accomplish together. 

We are absolutely determined to see the day when sloth populations are healthy and thriving. Where sloths everywhere are sustained by healthy and connected rainforests, and people are able to live in harmony with the natural world that surrounds them. 

We can’t wait to celebrate that day with you.

 

cute baby sloths suzi eszterhas

 

-Dr. Rebecca Cliffe

Founder and Executive Director

Tales from the Jungle: News and Updates!

Tales from the Jungle: News and updates!

I can’t believe it is already the end of August! The dwindling days of summer and the time when families would normally start to mentally prepare for going back to school. As we are all aware, however, 2020 has been far from normal! (Updates) 

In the spirit of summer, this month we celebrated National Lazy Day (check out our “lazy” yawning sloth video below), reflected on some of our favourite nature books for sloth lovers, and learned some impressive facts about the ultimate sloth predator, the mighty jaguar.

Most importantly, however, we have officially resumed our community-based sloth conservation programs after 4-months of quarantine! 

Throughout the last few weeks, we have been dropping hints about the launch of a new conservation initiative that Team Sloth have been working hard on behind the scenes.

In this newsletter, you can learn all about this exciting new project, see why some sloths are wearing state-of-the-art backpacks and join us in the fight to end sloth exploitation! 

 

Sloth Friendly Network

update sloth friendly

I am delighted to officially introduce you to our latest sloth conservation strategy! The Sloth Friendly Network is built on the belief that every single property has the potential to provide safe habitat for sloths, and every single business has the potential to educate customers on how to protect wildlife.

How it works:
  • We provide community members with everything that they need to make themselves as sloth-friendly as possible – for free
  • This includes planting native trees, installing wildlife bridges, and providing all educational materials needed for businesses to teach guests about the ways they can help to protect sloths.
  • It’s a win-win scenario: property owners benefit through having more wildlife on their land, and we reward them with accreditation to the Sloth Friendly Network which boosts income.
  • Visitors to Costa Rica can browse our database of Sloth Friendly businesses when deciding where to stay or spend their money!
  • Learn more about SFN

 

Upcoming research!

sloth research updates
Photo: Suzi Eszterhas

This month we have acquired five new Sloth Backpacks which will be used to investigate how habitat disturbance is impacting the behaviour of sloths. 

What is a sloth backpack? Little elastic harnesses (made-to-measure for each sloth and hand-sewn by me) wrap around the sloth’s shoulders. These backpacks contain 2 things:
  • A tracking device to tell us where the sloth is.
  • A tiny data logger called a ‘Daily Diary’ that records over 3.5 million data points every single day! This includes movement, activity, direction of travel, energy expenditure, height in the tree, temperature and humidity!

These backpacks allow us to continuously monitor wild sloth behaviour and the results will help us to better develop conservation strategies to facilitate the peaceful co-existence of sloths and humans!

 

Back in Action: Connected Gardens

Connected gardens reforestation updates

In April this year, we were forced to suspend all of our community-based conservation efforts due to the coronavirus pandemic. We were finally able to relaunch our Connected Gardens project this month (following new guidelines from the Ministry of Health) and our team have been busy planting trees and building bridges! 

 

Siping with sloths?

‘Sips with sloths’ and ‘after-school slime with sloths’. These are the latest in a string of cruel and exploitative encounter experiences being disguised as education and conservation. We stopped sloth yoga. We stopped sloth sleepovers. We stopped sloth swimming lessons. We can stop this too. Please help us end sloth exploitation by signing the petition!

 

Cycle to Work Day

Here in the South Caribbean of Costa Rica bikes often outnumber cars, and so to commemorate “Cycle to Work Day” we would like you to join us on our daily commute to the office! Check out the video above and be transported to the Caribbean to experience Team Sloth’s journey to work (featuring a surprise sloth sighting!). I hope it brightens your day!

 

Behind the scenes with a sloth Photographer!

We are so excited to celebrate World Photography Day with our beloved friend and award-winning wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas!Photography day best sloth updates

A lot of the amazing pictures we share of sloths are taken by Suzi and we are proud to have her as a trustee of our foundation. To celebrate this day we asked Suzi to choose her all-time favorite photos of sloths and to share the behind the scenes story of how she managed to capture each image!

 

Know your sloth predators!

jaguar sloth predator

#InternationalCatDay (August 8th) fell on a “Cat-urday” this year, and to celebrate this feline-friendly day we chose to highlight a cat who’s fate is intertwined with that of sloths, the jaguar! Do you know what the word “jaguar” means? Read this article to find out how sloths and jaguars are more similar than you may think!

 

It’s National Lazy Day!

and what better animal to talk about than the sloth! Not only because of their ‘lazy’ reputation, but also because in most languages the word ‘sloth’ also directly translates as ‘lazy’! But are sloths really that lazy? 🤔🦥

The answer is NO! What we often interpret as laziness is actually very successful survival strategy. Find a comfy spot, grab a favourite snack and relax watching sloths being… well…sloths! But do sloths deserve their lazy reputation? And how do they survive in the wild if they can’t run away? Enjoy the video and find out the answers!

 

Do you love books as much as we do?

nature book updates

Last Sunday (August 9th) was “Book Lovers Day.” So if you’re looking for a good book to wrap up these summer days, here are 20 of our favourite books about nature and wildlife (as well as some personal favorites from Team Sloth!).

 

 

Overshoot Day

circular economy linear economy

Good news for us and our planet! Earth Overshoot day (August 22nd) is three weeks later than it was in 2019, a 9.3% reduction in our collective ecological footprint, largely due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Have you heard of Earth Overshoot day? Essentially, it marks the day in which globally we have consumed more resources than the Earth is able to regenerate in a year. The Global Footprint Network uses 15,000 data points per country to provide this snapshot, a way to conceptualize humanity’s impact across the globe.

Although the situation may seem daunting, we can start living within our means by mimicking how our ecosystems function and shifting from a linear to a circular economy.

From carbon neutral cargo ships to urban reforesting (check out our Connected Gardens program) to zero food waste shops, there are so many inspiring initiatives forging a more sustainable future. Check them out on the #movethedate interactive map! ♻️

Did you know that on our website you can offset your carbon footprint by planting trees? 🌿

 

Dog Day!

dog day updates

Happy international dog day! Did you know that dogs are the second leading cause of death for sloths in the wild? Don’t worry this is not a morbid post to hate on dogs! (We here at Team sloth are all big dog lovers).

We want to tell you about our what we do to prevent sloths being attacked by dogs:
• We launched a protect called ‘oh my dog’ where we sponsor to spay or neuter stay dogs ( or families that can’t afford to ) and promote responsible pet ownership.
• Build canopy bridges to prevent sloths encountering dogs on the ground.
• Plant trees to bridge gaps in the canopy.

Do you want to support any of the above projects and help save sloths? You can find links to each project on our website. We have also written a blog post with our 5 top tips for dog owners that care about wildlife!

#internationaldayofthedog #internationaldogday #dog #puppy #reaponsibleowner #training #sloths #slothconservation #perro #diadelperro

 

Our favorite time of the year is near!

As we creep towards the end of 2020, thoughts are starting to turn towards preparing for everyone’s favorite time of year.  A time to relax, eat too much food and fall asleep on the couch… of course, we are talking about International Sloth Day on October 20th (don’t worry, we won’t mention the ‘C’ word just yet)! In the run-up to this special day we will be bringing you an exclusive series of sloth-themed events so keep checking our website for the latest updates!

In the meantime, I hope you stay happy and healthy – and thank you for supporting our mission to create a safer world for sloths! 

All the best from the jungles of Costa Rica,

-Dr. Rebecca Cliffe

Founder and Executive Director

Bonus: #2020 Challenge: Sloth edition

July on our Social Media

July on our Social Media

July 1 – Plastic-free month

To start off #plasticfreejuly, we will be giving away a free tote bag with every physical sloth adoption package! Adopt a sloth this month to revive your own beautiful sloth tote bag 💚

Plastic Free July was started in 2011 to raise awareness of the world’s plastic problem. It challenges you for the month of July to try a #plasticfree lifestyle ♻️

One of the simplest ways to do this is by avoiding single-use plastic bags when you go shopping by bringing your own reusable bag (like one our beautiful sloth tote bags). On average Americans use 100 BILLION plastic bags a year! These plastic bags are used for an average 12 minutes – and then take over 1000 years to break down 😭😭

ADOPT NOW: https://slothconservation.org/product-category/adopt-a-sloth/

Or purchase your own sloth tote bag with 30% off and all proceeds go directly to sloth conservation! https://slothconservationshop.com/products/watercolor-hang-in-there-canvas-tote-bag

 

July 7 Chocolate Day

HAPPY WORLD CHOCOLATE DAY! 🍫 Today is definitely a day that we all enjoy celebrating and today we have some great news for you!! ❤️😍

If you love sloths AND chocolate, you don’t have to make that painful choice between enjoying chocolate cake and enjoying the presence of sloths in the wild.

You may be used to hearing how many food crops, from palm plantations to pineapples, threaten wildlife in tropical ecosystems. Large monocultures full of with pesticides and herbicides threaten the health of humans and wildlife alike while reducing and fragmenting the habitat that remains.

WELL this is different in the case of chocolate. Cacao can be produced in a way that actively promotes biodiversity and soil health and can play an important role in providing habitat for sloths and other wildlife! 🍫😍

#worldchocolateday #chocolate #chocolatecake #chocolatelovers #ilovechocolate #chocolovers #cacao #cacaolove

chocolate day

 

 July 17: World Emoji Day

Comment if you’re a sloth lover who loves this three-fingered sloth emoji! 😍👇🏼

Don’t you love how three-fingered sloths always look like they are smiling! 😄😄

#WorldEmojiDay

sloth emoji sloth emoji july

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Join team sloth today and help us fight to save the world’s slowest mammal! 💚 👉🏼 https://mailchi.mp/slothconservation/welc

 

 

July 30 – World Friendship Day

Make sure you’re giving all of your friends lots of socially distanced sloth love today! 💖  send them a virtual sloth hug! 🦥

#worldfriendshipday

 

friendship day july sloth

 

friendship sloth july

Sloth Poop Dance?

Sloths are famous for their unusual and bizarre bathroom habits 🤭. Both two-fingered and three-fingered sloths will only defecate once a week, and for some strange reason they will only do it on the ground.

Descending from the safety of the canopy to the forest floor is not only energetically very costly, but it is also a suicide mission. So why bother?

Tales from the jungle: June News!

Tales from the Jungle: June News!

june news
The new sloth conservation headquarters (HQ) and tree nursery! Located in Playa Negra, Puerto Viejo.

Welcome to our monthly sloth update!

June News! While many countries across the world are beginning to ease restrictions, COVID-19 cases in Costa Rica are now spiking (along with an unfortunate outbreak of dengue fever) and so team sloth are regressing back into lock-down mode. Despite this, however, our work to protect sloths does not stop! In fact, we are busier than ever! 

I am delighted to let you know that this month we secured our first official jungle ‘home’ (headquarters) for SloCo in Costa Rica and built a second forest nursery that is capable of producing over 3000 sloth-friendly trees. Check out the video below to see this in action!

Sloth Crossing Caught on Camera!

After installing 3 new Sloth Crossings recently, we were so excited to receive this footage of a sloth using the bridges in record time (less than a month!). You might think that a month is still quite a long time, but given that it takes 30 days for a sloth to digest a single leaf, this is quite a fast turn around…

june news

Getting to know Team Sloth: Patricio!

Each month I like to shine the spotlight on one of our team members in Costa Rica, and this month I would like to introduce Pato – our Agronomist and Connected Gardens Manager. Click the link below to learn how Pato is helping us to save sloths through habitat restoration!

Get a Free Tote Bag!

To celebrate Plastic Free July, we will be giving away a FREE sloth tote bag with every physical sloth adoption package for the next month! Using a reusable shopping bag like this is one of the easiest ways to reduce your plastic consumption – and 100% of your adoption donation will go towards protecting sloths in the wild!

june news july plastic free

Introduction to Sloths Webinar

Did you miss our fun “Introduction to Sloths” Webinar on social media? We teamed up with the University of Florida and the “A Scientist in every Florida School” initiative, to bring you an introduction to sloths – including a real wild sloth! If you want to catch up on this educational video with your young ones, family or friends and learn all about sloths here it is:

Take a Virtual Walk where the jungle meets the beach

Lastly, for those of you who have been stuck inside during these strange times, I would like to invite you to take a virtual walk with us through the Manzanillo National Park in the South Caribbean of Costa Rica. In the video, you can enjoy listening to the incredible sounds of the rainforest while walking on a trail where the jungle meets the beach.

This beautiful park is full of beach almond trees (a favorite of the two-fingered sloth) and is, therefore, a great place to do some wild sloth spotting! You’ll definitely be able to spot a sloth in the video if you have a good eye.

I hope you have enjoyed our recent content and project updates. June has been our busiest month yet for sloth conservation, and I am excited to say that we have no plans to slow down. Our new headquarters (SlotHQ) and forest nursery are a huge step in the right direction for us and I am looking forward to seeing the impact on our programs as we move forward. Thank you for your continued support, especially during these difficult times!

-Dr. Rebecca Cliffe

Founder and Executive Director

Getting to know Team Sloth: Meet Patricio (a.k.a. Pato)!

Getting to know Team Sloth: Meet Patricio (a.k.a. Pato)!

Patricio Silfeni

This month we would like to introduce you to Patricio Silfeni; chief agronomist and manager of the Connected Gardens project. He has been working for SloCo for over a year and recently coordinated the construction and development of our new 3000-tree forest nursery. From Patagonia to Costa Rica, here is his story.

 

What originally led you to the conservation field?

I think it’s something natural. Something that comes from within. I have always felt that connection with nature. During adolescence, I strayed a bit from that path and lost my connection with nature along the way. About 10 years later, I found it again and I started volunteering in different national parks when I was in my mid 20’s.

The love that I had for nature since I was a child came back. The truth is that at the time, I pursued money more than my passions, and when I came back in contact with nature and followed my heart everything changed for the better.

Patricio Patagonia
High Valley of Rio Negro, Patagonia Argentina.

What is your role at SloCo?

I am an agronomist and I coordinate the Connected Gardens project. In this program, we connect gaps in the canopy by planting trees and installing Sloth Crossing canopy bridges in order to bring back these biological corridors that the animals once had and have lost.

What I always say about Connected Gardens, is that it is a project in which everyone wins. It is a positive feedback loop. Very generous people from all around the world donate money, we have the capacity and the ability to do the work and other people (who are also participants – the property owners), open the doors to their homes so that we can plant and connect the populated zones.

But, we all engage in a good deal of multitasking. I studied digital marketing and so I help SloCo with that as well.

Patricio wildlife bridges
Patricio and Gallo searching for a good spot to install A Sloth Crossing wildlife bridge

Who is your role model?

The people who have inspired me the most are my parents. My parents have given me all the opportunities that I needed and all the freedom in the world to choose the path that suited me the best. They have always supported me.

Carl Sagan is often a guide for me and my thoughts, an incredibly noble person who has dedicated his whole life to developing an understanding so that we and the world can be better off. He was a hyper tolerant person who understands the motivations of other people. I feel a great deal of affinity for his way of thinking.

Carl Sagan quote: If we continue to accumulate only power and not wisdom, we will surely...

What does a regular workday look like for you?

The best thing of all is that a “regular” day is not regular. Every day is different, and that brings me great joy. I can bring together the majority of my interests and passions in this work: nature, photography, learning new things, interacting with people from all around the world.

In a typical week, we plant, we prepare soils, we fill pots, plant saplings, plant seeds, go to a person’s house to plant trees, it could be once, twice or three times that we return with trees. In the span of a week we also usually install a sloth crossing, take photos and videos of the process so that we can show our donors and anyone who is interested in the work that we are doing.

I also work on Search Engine Optimization for SloCo to improve the content on our website.

Patricio carries the trees on his bike to reduce his carbon footprint

What is it like working in Costa Rica?

Well, it has always been a dream of mine. I’ve been here for almost five years, and every day I like it more here. When someone says that you have found your place in the world, that is what it is like living here. Working on the SloCo team is the best part of it.

What does conservation mean to you?

I think that the conservation work that we do as individual humans is a grain of sand in an immense sea. What I try to do is contribute my grain of sand towards conservation. I like to believe it is possible to be a change-maker.

I don’t have kids but I think of my nephews and the next generations, I want them to be able to enjoy nature in the ways that we do now, and the previous generations. If we continue to develop at this rate, we are going to destroy everything, and of course, I am very concerned about that.

Patagonia
We must protect landscapes like this, ecosystems and the biodiversity within, for future generations to enjoy

The fact of the matter is that I do my part knowing that it is very difficult to change the path we are on. I know that this work could help me, my community, even if it is still a grain of sand on a larger scale. But I would always prefer to do that over doing nothing.

I believe that conservation, at this point, is a monumental task. It has been 200 years since industrialization began to undermine our natural systems. Realistically, we need the efforts, of groups like ours, as well as whole communities to be able to transform the situation. My hope for humanity is to achieve this grand transformation. Our work is just a small part but is connected to this larger movement.

shorebirds
Patricio tagging Two-banded Plover (Charadrius falklandicus)

How did you first become involved in conservation?

I first became involved doing surveys of shorebirds in Patagonia. Birdwatching was my therapy, I would go out to walk in nature to photograph birds, snakes, lizards, any type of wild animal that I would come across, including plants as well because there were so many plants that I loved. I would walk for hours and hours alone to register the presence of species of plants and animals.

birdwatching
Participating in an annual shorebird census in Las Grutas, Patagonia Argentina, with Cecilia

After this, I began to collaborate on campaigns with Fundación Inalafquen, monitoring and banding shorebirds, and later I started volunteering in national parks, such as Iguazu National Park. I began a series of trips in all the possible places with the excuse of registering the presence of species.

Patricio Iguaxu National Park
Volunteering at Iguazú National Park was a life-changing experience.

In reality, I became involved in conservation many years before when I was taking photos of species and uploading them to websites such as, EcoRegistros, which is dedicated to citizen science. The thing is, I didn’t see it as conservation at the time.

How did you end up in Costa Rica?

After I was working as a volunteer in Iguazu National Park, which is known for its waterfalls in Argentina, we went to visit a relative whose partner is from Costa Rica. When we arrived here, we began to get to know the place and the people. We fell in love with Costa Rica and decided to stay.

I worked for about three years at a wildlife rescue center as a guide/naturalist, thanks to the previous experience that I had working as a guide in Patagonia and the experience that I had working with wildlife in the national parks.

These years were a great learning experience and opportunity to get to know lots of people, their many stories and different realities.  I met Rebecca (the founder of SloCo), and shortly thereafter I started working full-time for the Sloth Conservation Foundation on the Connected Gardens Project.

Patricio

What is one of your favorite things about sloths?

My love of Costa Rica goes hand in hand with why I love sloths so much. I love their slow pace; how they take their time to think through things before taking their next step.

Outside of work, what do you like to do?

I like to enjoy time with my friends and family. This for me is the most important thing: quality time with family and friends (usually talking about nature).

Enjoying a meal by a lake with family

About the Connected Gardens Project

In 2019 we launched the Connected Gardens Project to mitigate the impacts of urban development on the native wildlife in Costa Rica. The main objective of this project is to generate biological corridors for biodiversity by increasing habitat connectivity and availability within and between private properties and other fragments of adjoining forests.

This is being achieved by reforesting altered lands with native species of trees and through the installation of natural and artificial wildlife bridges. In the SloCo forest nursery, we are growing a variety of trees species that are favored by sloths, including cecropia (guarumo), sangrillo, mountain almond, and beach almond. The saplings are then planted in target areas and are marked with signage to promote the care and protection of the tree by the local community.

 

June on our Social Media

June on our Social Media

3 June – World Bicycle Day

In this picture you can see our Connected Gardens Project manager, Patricio, riding his bike to deliver some tree saplings. Unless is strictly necessary, whether it´s because the place to plant is too far, or requires a big quantity of trees, We always choose our bikes as our principal way of transportation.

bicycle day june social media

June 5 – World environmental day

environmental day june

June 8 – Oceans Day

Have you ever thought about sloths taking to the oceans?💙

Well in the turquoise waters off the coast of Panama, a group of island living pygmy three-toed sloths (Bradypus pygmaeus) have found an alternative, and quicker, mode of transportation: Swimming!

They are not the only sloths they swim but they are the only sloth known to swim in sea water!

Dr Rebecca Cliffe our founder and sloth biologist explains that “their diet of leaves leads to the generation of gas during digestion, which means they’re like big balls of air”. Which makes they are relatively buoyant and makes swimming easy. And in fact, they can swim three times faster than they can move through the trees!

oceans day june sloth

 

June 8 – Best Friend Day

best friend day

 

June 17 – World Day to combat desertification and drought

Today is the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought! You might be thinking, how does this affect sloths? The tropical rainforest ecosystem where sloths live is drying up. The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is known for its rain. However, even here, we have been experiencing water shortages. Some regions of the country received 75% less rainfall than expected in July 2019, leading the country to declare a state of emergency.

Sloths are unlike many other mammals because they are unable to regulate their own body temperature. This means that everything they do is dependent upon the weather. Of particular concern right now in Costa Rica is the lack of rainfall. Sloths are being admitted into rescue centers all over South and Central America suffering from dehydration, and we are seeing a big increase in the number of sloths drinking from rivers.

June 22 – Sustainable gastronomy day

What is the real cost of that $3 pineapple? Today is sustainable gastronomy day we want to highlight how this popular and delicious fruit is impacting the lives of people, sloths and the rainforest 🍍

Did you know that Costa Rica uses more pesticides (per capita) than any other country in the world? These pesticides contaminate the whole rainforest ecosystem, and the result is now being observed as genetic abnormalities in sloths and monkeys 🌱

  • Read more: The real cost of a cheap pineapple from Costa Rica

sustainable gastronomy day sloth pineapple

 

June 21 – Father´s Day

Happy Father’s Day!🏅 When it comes to being a good dad, sloths are quite frankly not the greatest role models and they certainly won’t be winning any ‘fabulous father’ awards any time soon.

After mating, a male sloth will quickly return to his peaceful, solitary existence. After an 11.5 month pregnancy (longer than in humans) a female sloth will give birth to her baby whilst hanging upside down from a tree branch. She will then spend a full year carefully raising that baby alone, overcoming a 1-in-3 chance of infant mortality before it reaches independence! All the while, the baby sloth’s father will likely be snoozing in the shade…. 🦥

We hope all human and animal fathers enjoy their day today! We hope you get to snooze in a shaded tree all day undisturbed 🌱

father day june

June 21 – Selfie Day

#worldselfieday Would you like to have your photograph taken with a sloth? A sloth selfie for social media? When considering a sloth encounter, the most important thing to remember is the slogan of the year: SOCIAL DISTANCING!💚
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We have put a blog post together highlighting the ultimate sloth selfie code:
1.) Never pay to hold or pet a sloth!
2.)Social distancing and no touching!
3.) Don’t use your flash!
4.) Keep your selfie stick to yourself!
5.) Don’t bait the sloth with food!
6.) Don’t shout or disturb the sloth with loud noises!
7.) Be a sloth hero and stop sloth harassment!
✅

sloth selfie

June 22 – Rainforest Day

#worldrainforestday Rainforests are vital for the survival of life on Earth, without rainforest there would be no sloths!! We depend on the Amazon rainforest alone for 20% of the oxygen we breathe and the freshwater we drink. They absorb our carbon dioxide, stabilize climate patterns, and are home to half the world’s plant and animal species.
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Yet every minute, we lose 40 football fields of rainforests, which is a major threat on our biodiversity! Scientists estimate there to be 5-10 million species that live on this planet. We have only recorded 1.3 million of them. It is possible that 90% of the lifeforms on this Earth have yet to be noticed and appreciated by us. Protecting and restoring our rainforests could reverse global emissions by a third!!

rainforest say june social media

 

June 28  – Pride Day

Happy #Pride 🌈 June is pride month! Not only are we devoted to protecting sloths and the environment here at SloCo but we also advocate for respect and inclusion of all people to create a better future!
❤️🧡💛💚💙💜
Embrace pride with us!
#loveislove

lgtb sloths pride

June 29 – International Day of Tropics

The tropics host up to 80% of the worlds biodiversity, nearly 95% of the world’s mangrove forests by area and 99% of mangrove species and biodiversity (including the pygmy three-fingered sloth). However, loss of biodiversity is also greater in the tropics than anywhere else in the world! 🌎
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The tropics are one of the areas experiencing the impacts of climate change most severely, appearing especially sensitive to increasing temperatures and unpredictable weather. This in turn is affecting sloths enormously as they can’t regulate their own body temperature like other mammals, and therefore dramatic changes in ambient temperature for sloths can be fatal!
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Tropical forests play an important role in global climate change, providing the essential service of carbon sequestration, storing approximately 25% of the world’s carbon. However, the rate of deforestation within tropical nations is severe. Deforestation, along with land use change in the tropics is contributing up to 20% of global carbon emissions.
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What can we do to help? Our projects are located in the tropics and, while working towards the conservation of sloths, we are dedicated to protecting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible. Our Connected Gardens project focuses directly on reforesting and restoring sloth habitats, fighting the elevating rates of deforestation. Why don’t you consider donating to our Connected Gardens project today and plant some trees, leaving the kind of footprints we should be leaving on this earth 💚🐾

june tropics day social media sloths