Searching for the last Sloths:|
NEWSFLASH! MINAE was recently called in when a baby sloth was found in Delicias, near Montezuma.(May 2007). This is the second confirmed sighting in less than a year,, proving that sloths are not only native to this area, but are still living here. Rainsong hopes this new evidence will push MINAE to support Rainsong's sloth reintroduction program.
In order to re-introduce the sloth to our area of Costa Rica, we must first prove to MINAE, the government organization in charge of regulating wild animal projects, that sloths were once a native species.
This is much more difficult than it might seem. Although sloths are common in some areas of Costa Rica, they have all but disappeared here, and proving they once lived here, or still live here, is much like searching for bigfoot! We have asked hundreds of people who have lived here for decades, and although many people claim to have seen them, especially old-timers who have been here since before the area was logged, we have been unable to turn up definitive proof, such as a photo or video.
There are two types of sloths living in Costa Rica. The three-toed sloth is native to our area. it is well documented to frequent similar habitat (tropical dry forest) in Panama, where it can be super-abundant (up to eight sloths per hectare!)
Sloths can live up to 30 years, and do not travel out of their small home territories. Also, each sloth has a favorite tree that it generally spends up to a quarter of its life in.
So, we are looking for recent eyewitness accounts, so we can search for the three-toed sloth by day, in which is is sometimes active, and by night, at which time it can be found by shining a flashlight and looking for its eyes to reflect.
If anyone reading this is certain they've seen a sloth in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula Area (Montezuma, Cabuya, Malpais, Santa Theresa, Manzanillo, Cobano, Tambor, Paquera, etc) then please let us know right away. Please be sure you aren't confusing this animal with the local anteater, also known as a Tamandua.
Also, we are searching for biologists who have spent time in this area, possibly even decades in past, who can certify for us that sloths once lived here.
In September 2007 Mary (Rainsong) and Ben Kagan visited the Sloth Sanctuary near Cahuita, Limon Province. We hope visitors to Costa Rica and also nationals will make an effort to visit this very special rescue center. Following is more information.
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