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Nov 7, 2018

We are Officially OPEN!

Heartfelt hug from the Minister after the opening
Heartfelt hug from the Minister after the opening

It is TRUE, we are now OFFICIALLY open as of Friday, the 2ndof November 2018. It was a festive day, with many high government officials attending the opening ceremony to be performed by Mrs. Roline Samsoedien, Minister of Spatial Planning, Land and Forest Management. This Ministry is also responsible for all protected species in Suriname. For those of you who have been following us for a longer time, the long-term cooperation with this Ministry’s Nature Conservation Division and the Game Wardens is already a known fact. But still, we were happy to see it reasserted in this manner by the Minister’s willingness to officially open the center. You can check out our report on this festive day on our website. This day would not have been complete without at least one release. So we released three sloths in the forests around the center on this beautiful day, to emphasize our message that Wild Animals Belong in the Wild. One animal was a beautiful older male we had rescued the day before from the building site where probably not long ago his home forest had been.

Preparing for our Wildlife Welfare Workshop

We are now in full swing preparing for the wildlife welfare workshop with the support of our partner Welttierschutzgesellschaft as well as for the medicine of sloths workshop to be held in January. As part of this work we had Gabriella, an old-time volunteer, now studying animal management in her home country of the United Kingdom, who stayed with us for almost 10 weeks at the center. Next to helping with the animals, for which she would get up especially for baby Bolletje (Little Ball) every two hours during the night to feed him, she was also working on cleaning our data for the last three years and preparing a map on which we could see where the hotspots are when it comes to sloth and anteater rescues. This information will feed into our Sloth Action Plan for Suriname, which will involve all stakeholders and help these animals’ survival in urban areas and beyond.

More Education

As the Minister also indicated in her speech, we will be more closely working together on providing education to raise awareness about the sloths, anteaters and armadillos and thus help them be better protected. We started in any case with again raising awareness on international sloth day, this year it was on the 20thof October, with a short message about not taking selfies with these animals. And if possible, not with any wild animal. Because wild animals are not photo props.

We are proud to say that our Sloth Hall of Fame is now taking shape. We are talking to the artists to bring the mural on our center to live and incorporating the Sloth Hall of Fame in that mural. For those of you who are not familiar with our Sloth Hall of Fame, it is the place where we recognize all people who have contributed to the establishment and maintenance of our center.

Now we can finish our report by saying “Welcome to the Sloth Wellness Center”, we are open to receive you!

Is there hope? Will they take me to a new home?
Is there hope? Will they take me to a new home?
These sloth-face cookies were very tasty
These sloth-face cookies were very tasty

Links:

Aug 27, 2018

An Unusual Rescue Period

A building crew helping to bring a sloth down
A building crew helping to bring a sloth down

As we drove up to the barrier at the Sloth Wellness Center, an hour’s drive from the capital Paramaribo, the telephone rang. A sloth had been found and if we could come to pick it up in South Paramaribo. We stayed for only a short while at the center, just long enough to see 19November and her baby.

This male three-fingered sloth rescued from a road on the 11thof August marked the beginning of a deluge of rescues that was to follow in the ensuing period. On the 12thof August, we received a call, an animal had been found crossing a road in the north-west of Paramaribo. The animals were transferred to the center on the 13thof August. The 14thof August we received a call that an animal had been found sitting in a flower pot in north Paramaribo. When we arrived we found a two-fingered sloth sleeping while clutching itself to a branch that was stuck in the flower pot. In the afternoon we received a call from the Zoo that an animal had been brought in by the fire brigade, a female three-fingered sloth. The next day, at 7:15 AM we received a call that a sloth had been found hanging from someone’s roof top. This two-fingered sloth was brought down with the help of a building crew, because after we had looped it, we realized we would come crashing down with the animal as soon as we had its hand and feet released. With the help of the building crew we were able to bring the animal down in a slow and controlled manner. Around the fall of the night on the 15thstill, already home from work, I received a call that an animal had crossed the road in the north of Paramaribo and was now sitting in the grass. The animal friend, Charles, who had called me, stayed there until I arrived. However, there was no free kennel available, and a kennel had to be borrowed. A downpour only an hour prior to the call, had completely flooded the north of Paramaribo and gave this rescue an additional watery flavor. After 2 hours we finally were able to rescue this two-fingered sloth from the side of the road. These two animals were transferred to the center for release on Thursday afternoon by center staff, who had also brought some kennels to the city so we would not again find ourselves without kennels. Thursday afternoon, the 16thof August, just as I was about to leave the office, I received a call that a sloth had been seen since 2 PM. I received several pictures of a sloth sitting on a roof, sitting on a fence and sitting half in a tree. When I arrived, the sloth had disappeared. They told us that it was maybe in the street right behind where it had last been seen. As I started to pull out, I saw the animal sitting in a low bunch of cecropia trees. This female three-fingered sloth was brought to the office, ready for transfer to the center on Saturday morning. 

A sad start of the weekend

On Friday the 17thof August, as I was having dinner with a friend, I received a call at 10 PM that a wounded animal had been found. We quickly finished our meal, picked up the rescue van and set out to see what had happened to this animal. When we arrived, we found a three-fingered sloth bleeding from its neck and with blood in its fur. Leontine, one of our volunteer vets, was on call and we met her at her office at 10:30 PM. She administered first aid, but the animal had to come back for an X-ray the next day, so the nature of the wounds could be established. The next morning when I took the animal back to the vet’s office, it was clear that it had deteriorated, and in my opinion appeared to be dying. The X-rays were devastating, the animal had been shot with a wind gun 7 times. As the animal had further deteriorated, the decision was taken not to let it suffer more than it had already done. As I was about to leave the vet’s office with my sad package, I received a call for yet another rescue. It was not far from where I had picked up the three-fingered female sloth on Thursday, and also not far from the vet’s office. As I arrived, a fire was blazing through a small bush. The woman who had called me, took me over to a small tree in front of her house. A beautiful baby sloth, with an almost orange-haired face, was hanging from a branch. The animal was upset. I asked if they had seen the mother, because if the mother was in that fire, we would not be able to save her. They told me they had not seen any other animal. As I took the animal from the branch she hissed at me. I was wondering as I drove to the office, whether the two animals could be related. I loaded the animals in the van, picked up one of our volunteers and drove over to the rescue center. 

Reunion

In the afternoon we weighed the baby, and we let both animals climb on a jungle gym. There was no recognition. The female was restless and continued climbing up and down, and the little one, seemed to feel comfortable in the bowl of the scales and was not moving. I decided to bring the little one with the bowl closer to the female. The little one hissed. And suddenly there was some sort of recognition, she climbed onto the female and did not let go of her anymore. When we released them on the Sunday afternoon, they had remained together ever since they were reunited. Clinging firmly onto her mother, we saw the pair disappear into the forest.

And the rescues continue

Monday the 20thof August we received a call that a wounded animal had been found at the side of the road, not too far from our center. The family who had found her was visiting Suriname and had a visit planned to our center. The animal was rescued, and her right front arm appeared to have an injured claw. The animal was taken to the vet close to our center and treated for her injury. Throughout the whole incident, this three-fingered sloth never lost her appetite. While we were on a field mission in the east of the country, on the 21stof August, we received a call late in the afternoon for a rescue near the capital Paramaribo. A two-fingered sloth was crawling in the Ixora hedge of the lady who called. Two of our volunteers in the city, Stellar and Eva, were mobilized and they managed to rescue this animal. On the 25thof August, just as I was leaving for the rescue center, I received a call from a friend. She sent me two pictures, a sloth was hanging on her gate. She had tied her dogs, because otherwise this three-fingered male sloth would not survive this adventure. He is currently awaiting his release.

A sloth is hidden in the grass along a busy road
A sloth is hidden in the grass along a busy road
Wet, but away from the busy road
Wet, but away from the busy road
Sloth on its way to freedom
Sloth on its way to freedom
Baby sloth with orange-haired face
Baby sloth with orange-haired face
Reunited with mama sloth after two days
Reunited with mama sloth after two days
Aug 14, 2018

One Special Sloth by the name of 19 November

Maddy watching us and the visitors
Maddy watching us and the visitors

It's a little over one year now that we moved to the center and let all of the animals that used to live in my house find their own way in the forest around the center. Some of the animals we never saw back, like Lucas and Ann. However, 19 November and Anna can be regularly seen in the trees around the center. Not necessarily coming up very close, but close enough to make us certain they were doing well. Ten days ago a visitor noticed that 19 November who was up in a tree, but not in her usual spot, had a hitchhiker. And believe it or not, we do think she is showing off her baby to us and our guests. A definite beauty this baby, who we named Maddy after the visitor who first saw her. This breaking news with pictures and videos was immediately shared with our app subscribers.

Goodbye for now Rory

Our intern Rory left after having stayed two months. She had so much to tell, that we cannot share all of it here, but if you want to read her full post, we have shared it on our website. For us it was a rewarding experience to have Rory around, who not only helped us with the care of the orphans, she also learned a lot from them. She came to appreciate them for the individuals they are. She was personally experiencing their development as they dared to venture out of the center into the forest for longer periods. As we are preparing for our wildlife welfare workshop in January, Rory has extensively studied everything about how our interactions as humans with wildlife, in Suriname, and around the world, affect wild animals. How we too often only look at populations of wild animals and their numbers, but forget to look at their individual well-being. After all, each individual is a crucial building stone in a healthy population, so if on an individual level their welfare is compromised, the welfare of the whole population will be compromised. We said goodbye to Rory for now, but are sure we will see her back in the future. Especially, as only one week after she left, a new baby arrived who we named after her.

The dry season has come

We experienced in the past months so much rain that often we could not reach the center with our famous rescue vehicle. Only the toughest four-wheel drive trucks could reach all the way to the center. Rescued animals were also brought to the rescue center by four-wheel drive truck from the beginning of the road. To save the road further damage, we asked visitors to park in the front and wear rubber boots as they made their way to the sanctuary. With the dry season the school holiday is also on our doorstep, and we are looking forward to receiving holiday makers and tell them about the work we do and the animals we take care of.

We thank you for your continued support, and we really do hope that you will come and visit us.

Rory caring for Ostrich and Jinkoe
Rory caring for Ostrich and Jinkoe
 
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