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.
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
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!