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Sloth Speedways: Race to Freedom

Three fingered sloth mom & baby crossing via Sloth Speedway

By Seda Sejud, Chief Sloth Ambassador, The Sloth Institute Costa Rica

At The Sloth Institute, we are excited to begin progress, slow as it may seem (but how appropriate!) towards the 3rd tenet of our mission statement: CONSERVATION.  As we help negate human encroachment issues that impact sloths’ welfare and habitats.

We all witness the expansion of development projects everywhere. Our world is getting more crowded and many of us are seeking less developed places to escape to and live. The downside of this is that in so many places, like Costa Rica, there is a large negative impact on wildlife created by human encroachment. A single tree removed can create a life-threatening situation for a sloth and can prevent them from getting to much needed food or shelter.  Unable to reach the next tree, sloths are forced to come down to the ground, where they are most exposed to danger, to travel across. Once on the ground, sloth’s encounter dogs, snakes, ocelots, and cars, all a certain threat to the safety and livelihood of the individual. While monkeys can easily jump to another tree, a sloth has no choice but to go to the ground to travel where gaps in the trees are present.

The Sloth Institute logo

As a volunteer organization, we are dependent on the time of our volunteers with the majority dedicated to the observation of sloths currently within the release program as well as tracking of wild sloths’ behavior. Their observations are used to compare against the behavior of the hand-raised orphans who are now being released back into the wild. Slowly, with the help of additional volunteers from all around the world, we have been able to make some strides to work on conservation issues.

Two-fingered sloth scratching on Sloth Speedway

Two-fingered sloth scratching on Sloth Speedway

One of our first projects is the placement of critically needed Sloth Speedways, designed to help sloths cross from one food source to another.

We will be assessing areas in our community that need these crossings and raising funds to put them up. Our local power company, ICE, will be assisting (pro bono) to climb the trees to tie and place the ropes in the needed areas.

With the support of Team Sloth, the building of these Sloth Speedways will save sloths and keep them where they belong – in the wild.

Our tag line, Save a Sloth Save a Tree Save a Forest speaks to this head on. The cutting down of a single tree, can be a life or death situation for a sloth. If you see trees that need connecting, please let us know and we will do our best to assist in ensuring a safer crossing for these amazing creatures.

How you can help:

  • If you own property where sloths live; ensure that they have a means to get from one tree to another by not cutting down branches or trees or put up your own Sloth Speedway. Feel free to contact us for assistance.
  • If you see a place where sloths frequently come down to the ground to get to another tree, let us know!
  • Donate to help provide the materials needed to construct Sloth Speedways. Online: www.tsi.charity.org or in person at Tulemar, Manuel Antonio, Quepos, Costa Rica.

About The Sloth Institute Costa Rica:

www.theslothinstitutecostarica.org

The mission of The Sloth Institute Costa Rica is to protect and enhance the welfare and conservation of sloths. We do this with

RESEARCH of captive, wild and recently released sloths including collaborations with conservationists and scientists around the world.

EDUCATION to generate and disseminate responsible information about sloths.

CONSERVATION programs that negate human encroachment issues impacting sloth welfare and habitat.

TSI’s headquarters are located in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. For further information or to donate to this project, email info@theslothinstitutecostarica.org or visit www.tsi.charity.org. You can also follow us on our Facebook page @theslothinstitute.


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