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: 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,

Sloth Love Advisor

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.




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.




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.




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.




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