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!
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!
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!
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!
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