Tales from the Jungle | August 2022

Tales from the Jungle | August 2022

We’ve got exciting news this August! We have of course been up to our usual projects: reforestation, education, sloth crossings bridges, and research–and in addition, we’ve got a new team member, a new sloth, and a few new articles for you!

How concerning is “least concern”?

Four of the six species of sloths are classified as “least concern” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The problem with this is that there is a lack of information about sloth population trends, meaning that the metrics used by the ICUN might be wrong in the case of sloths.

Check out this article written by Dr. Rebecca Cliffe addressing this issue, and how SloCo is working on a solution.

 

 

Wolaba Parade with the Kukula Kids club!

August is a very special month here in the South Caribbean, and each year our province of Limon in Costa Rica takes a holiday to celebrate our unique Afro-Caribbean culture, people, and heritage!

 

 

This year we were proud to march in the  Wolaba Parade, right down the main street of Puerto Viejo, with the Kukula Kids Club and our mascot, Siesta the Sloth.

 

 

Introducing Deborah!

Everybody give a big welcome to Deborah, our latest addition to the Urban Sloth Project! Debbie, as she is affectionately known to the tracking team,  is a beautiful two-fingered sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) that lives in the same little forest as Mango and Maracuya near SloCo HQ. She was named after one of our dearest supporters, and we know she is going to be just as awesome.

 

 

Would you like to be one of our supporters too? Join our VIP community and receive monthly updates about the sloths we’re monitoring, plus photos, biographies, and more! In fact, here’s a little treat for you in the form of this beautiful illustration, which you can download here.

 

Welcome, José!

Say hello to our newest (human) member of the Urban Sloth Project, José Guzman García , with a degree in Biology with an emphasis on Ecology and Sustainable Development, who is joining our team to track sloths.

Jose is committed to generating changes in the community through science and conservation and is also a photographer, so if you get any extra special pictures of sloths in our VIP updates, you’ll know who to thank 😉

Welcome to crazytown, Jose!

 

 

How will global warming and climate change affect sloths?

Sloths are specially adapted to the constant temperatures of the rainforest, and–more so than most mammals–are deeply affected by changes in the ambient temperature.

This could leave them even more vulnerable to climate change than previously suspected; read more here about this research in Brazil, which studied and forecast how climate change will affect sloths and their habitat using some data collected and analyzed by Dr. Rebecca Cliffe.

 

sloth on the road
Sloths crawling on roads are vulnerable to dog attacks, roadkills or tourists’ harassment. / Photo

 

Tracking diaries #12

“I hand the tracking backpack off and take only the antenna and receiver, and begin to climb.

“Watch out!” calls Amelia from behind me. “You’re not in climbing gear!” I’m not; I’m in thick jeans, big rubber boots, and as many socks as I can put between me and any potential snakes that I might surprise while out traipsing through swamps. If I go tumbling off it’s a 15-meter drop to the crashing waves beneath us.” Continue reading…

 

 

Fails of The Month

Sick days are never over (Part III)

We did say welcome to Crazytown, right José? Well, the Caribbean baptism around here is that you get Dengue. Surprise! This tropical mosquito-transmitted disease (listed as one of the world’s Neglected Tropical Diseases by the WHO) really takes it out of you, but hey, we’ve all been there, so at least José is in good company. He made it through a LOT of papaya leaf juice, and we are happy to report he is better and back to sloth tracking.

 

-Sloth Team

 

 

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: 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