With increasing deforestation and hunting, sloths have become one of the most endangered mammals. The sloths that remain consist of two species of sloth; two-toed and three-toed sloths.
In Costa Rica, many cubs end up orphaned in the jungle as their mothers die, electrocuted, hit by traffic, or killed by wild dogs. Luckily, the JRC rehabilitation center at La Ceiba rainforest has been working tirelessly to give these sloth cubs a second chance.
The incredible rescue center teaches sloths to live in the wild, taking the cubs on a learning journey. So, what exactly does this journey entail?
The process is tricky; once an orphaned sloth is found in the jungle, it is immediately placed with other cubs of the same age and then enrolled into what the JRC staff calls ‘high school.’ This is where cubs learn basic sloth activities, such as climbing trees and using the playground.
Meanwhile, nutritionists at the JRC place the cubs on a diet of leaves, twigs, fresh fruit, and vegetables.
Slowly but surely, the sloths learn to climb trees and find food by themselves. In the final stage, the staff at the JRC leave the sloths by themselves in a particular area of the rescue center where they can monitor their progress. Monitoring is conducted with cameras hidden all over the jungle. Once staff assess the readiness of the sloths, they are released into the Cahuita National Park. To make sure the program works, all sloths are given a microchipped, so they can be tracked and followed periodically to make sure they are doing fine.