Sloth Crossings Update: More Wildlife seen on Bridges + Our First Installation
Our first bridge in Tortuguero!
Building bridges in Tortuguero was an important milestone for the Sloth Crossing team because it was the first time we installed the bridges all by ourselves. Before that, we used to hire climbers from outside the organization. This made bridge building a bit complicated since we had to depend on their availability.
Over the past 6 months, we took a professional climbing course, bought our own climbing equipment, and practiced a lot. Between Diego, Tamara, Francisco, and myself we logged hundreds of hours of climbing practice.
Although it rained almost the entire time, and these were the first bridges that Team Sloth had installed entirely on our own, we didn’t let these factors deter us.
By the end of four days there, we had installed six sloth crossings! We even installed a Sloth Crossing across the entrance to the Tortuguero National Park!
Now we are much more in the swing of installing Sloth Crossings and have installed 23 bridges together!
Since we have all been trained in single-rope accession climbing we switch off who climbs the tree to tie off the bridge, but it is certainly a group effort.
And just after two weeks of installing our first Sloth Crossing in Tortuguero, we received this video of monkeys using the bridge!
Connecting the coastal line
After we returned from Tortuguero, we heard the incredible news that we had received permission from the Municipality of Talamanca to install Sloth Crossings along the Maritime Zone.
The Maritime Zone is a public, protected area along the coastline, which is a vital refuge for many types of wildlife, especially two-fingered sloths, who eat the beach almond trees that grow in the sandy soil.
Elated, we got to work straight away and have installed 16 bridges since we received permission at the beginning of June.
We installed these sloth crossings across gaps in the canopy that had been created due to some illegal cutting and several big storms.
By installing Sloth Crossings, we are able to restore connectivity along 1km of coastline and reinforce this important biological corridor for wildlife in the area.
Slowly but surely
We received word that a three-fingered sloth with a baby was using the bridge at the Tasty Dayz Hostel a few weeks ago. This is very special since this was the first Sloth Crossing we built in 2019!
As long as the Sloth Crossing project keeps growing, we have more evidence that it takes some time for sloths to start using the bridges.
Now, this three-fingered mom and baby regularly use this Sloth Crossing to access a Cecropia tree on the property.
The following GIF is from footage that one of the property owners sent us last week of a three-fingered sloth using the bridge!
In this footage, we can see them feeding on the tree while hanging from the rope bridge.
A two-fingered sloth was spotted using a bridge at Faith Glamping! We originally installed the bridge at Faith Glamping in honor of a baby howler monkey that had fallen to its death when their mother was trying to jump across a large gap in the canopy. You can see the Instagram story here.
In the following picture, you can see a two-fingered sloth using one of the bridges we installed in the neighboring town of Cahuita:
Creating lasting connections
None of this work would be possible without the support from you.
Thanks to the kind property owners that have opened up their homes to us and people from around the globe that have supported our work and made this Sloth Crossings Program possible.
We (and the sloths) are eternally grateful.
Sloth Crossing Manager