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Nov 16, 2017

Let's hear it from a returning volunteer...

We have light!
We have light!

The first three months

We have been in the center now for three months, and it seems like we have been there much longer. The first 2 months without electricity, and for the last month we have electricity installed. Our solar system arrived, was installed and is up and running. Volunteers and interns came to help us with the daily care. One is a returning volunteer, Elise, who was familiar with the situation in my house. We asked her to describe a typical day at the center for you.

Elise's day at the Sloth Wellness Center

I love to greet the dawn. Today I have a perch upstairs in the open-air common room of the Sloth Wellness Center, and I’m filled with gratitude for this place and the opportunity to be a part of it, and the world. The sky streaks beautiful shades of orange, pink, and blue, as I listen to all the jungle sounds—birds, frogs, and insects—and maybe later, snapping branches signaling the arrival of traveling troops of capuchins and squirrel monkeys swinging and leaping through the trees. It’s a time of quiet reflection before the staff and other volunteers stir.

I will mix goat milk powder and water for the baby 3-toed sloths, then walk down the dirt road to watch the leaf-cutter ants and to take pictures of flowers, birds, spiders, and whatever else I might see. Around 7:30 or 8:00, I will remove the incubator cover and sweep the floor while the babies wake up. Then the feeding begins! Ed comes out with a friendly “good morning” and goes for a run. He will return with cecropia leaves and other treats for the sloths. Yvon will prepare 2-toed sloth and anteater food, and one of us will grind leaves for the babies’ “smoothie.” The animals sleep and eat, sleep and eat, and the people build and repair, shop, cook, write—whatever needs doing.

There might be visitors, or a sloth rescue or delivery. This week we received and released Julian, who was found lying in the sun on the side of the road, and Joyce, who was stranded in someone’s garden. We might be lucky enough to release a rehabilitated animal, as we did Igor, an injured giant anteater acquired from a wildlife trafficker, and once more feel good that we’ve saved a life and made a difference. It is a manifestation of our mantra, Wild animals belong in the wild!

Intensive Care and the Fight against Selfies with Sloths 

We worked together around International Sloth Day with the Dutch Branch of World Animal Protection to spread the word about the horrors perpetrated by tourists against sensitive sloths only because they want to take a "Selfie with a Sloth". For that purpose Vlogger Fleur travelled to Suriname and she produced a number of vlogs about this practice. She also helped us paint the Intensive Care Unit white, so that we could ensure that the container does not become to hot in the sun. Her work and the work on the intensive care unit has not yet been finished, but some local volunteers helped as well. Our planning is to have the unit finished by the end of the year.

Giving Tuesday is around the Corner

We again ask your support to help us finish the building by specifically making a donation on this Giving Tuesday, the 28th of November, to our project. This will certainly help bringing us closer to achieving our goal of making our center operational.

Igor the Giant rescued from a wildlife trafficker
Igor the Giant rescued from a wildlife trafficker
Two volunteers painting the IC unit
Two volunteers painting the IC unit

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Sep 7, 2017

Meet Timmie..

The 3 babies are transported to their incubators
The 3 babies are transported to their incubators

Timmie was found two days ago by Mr. Sabajo in a secondary forest. He heard the animal before he saw it. Timmie is very good at whistling like a good ventriloquist. When he found this baby, Mr. Sabajo noticed that the animal’s nails were filed. Which means that someone must have left the animal in the forest. Because normally baby sloths have very sharp nails. One can only wonder about why someone first kidnaps the animal from his mother, and then leaves it alone in the forest to die. Yes, to die, because Timmie is not more than 4 months old, and will not be able to survive on his own yet. Timmie especially whistles while he is eating. This is either a sign that he is happy and whistles when he eats, or it may also be a strategy to stay in touch with his mother while he is eating away from her. From our experience, we noticed that the little ones will climb themselves to eat leaves while their mothers may be resting. And then join her again when they have finished their small adventure. At around 8 months, the mothers leave their babies to fend for themselves. We now have 3 babies at the center who go into their incubators at night. And hopefully we can run these incubators as of next week powered by the sun!

We moved…

Yes we did, even though the center is mostly an empty shell. We are managing without electricity, but hopefully that problem will have been solved by end of next week. The animals do not need much in terms of furniture, the trees are their furniture. It is for the animals that need care that we need to get our center properly outfitted. We will do this as funding becomes available. Two of our volunteers are looking into how our intensive care unit can be made into just that. The 20-foot container is very hot because the sun is relentlessly shining on it from different angles during the day. The first solution will be to paint the container white. The second solution will be to insulate the container by constructing a double wall. We are now awaiting further details of how we can as quickly as possible make this unit ready, so that we can receive animals, like Inke, that need extra care in a proper environment.

Meet Inke…

Inke was reported to us over the weekend by shop-owner Inke, who had previously rescued animals for us from people that came into her shop with a sloth. This time, she saw a person entering her shop with a sloth, and she immediately addressed this woman, and told her she had to leave the animal with her, and otherwise she would not leave her shop. Fortunately, as none of our own volunteers was available, Mariska from the dog shelter drove out to the shop to take the animal and bring it to one of our volunteers. On Monday, the animal that was traumatized as a result of claw cutting, was transferred to the center. She is now eating and drinking her rescue drops, and slowly healing from her trauma.

These are only two stories of animals that we recently rescued from unfortunate situations. We rescued and released animals throughout the transition period in which we moved. One from the waiting area at the penitentiary facility, another from some boys that were harassing an animal. Please follow our facebook, instagram and website for more stories about our work.

We appreciate every new recurring donation, as especially now this is what we most need to keep us going.

Inke traumatized by people who cut her claws
Inke traumatized by people who cut her claws
Sloth at the penitentiary facility
Sloth at the penitentiary facility
Sloth entangled in hammock and ropes
Sloth entangled in hammock and ropes
Aug 18, 2017

To Move or Not to Move...

The animals confined to kennels for moving them
The animals confined to kennels for moving them

(When I started writing this update at the beginning of July, I was traveling and a lot happened in the 10 days that I traveled.)

To Move or Not to Move… That was not really the question, at that moment it was our dilemma! We had to move, but we could not move. We were facing some hurdles, big and small, and some painfully sad moments, prior to being able to start out in the new center. Fortunately, the landlord gave us an additional month before we had to move out. There were several reasons, why we were confronted with this problem. Reason number 1 was the rainy weather. The condition of the road was so bad that we were not able to finish the center. Reason number 2 is that we do not yet have the solar energy system in place. During my travel, on top of the slow delivery of the system, we received pictures from the supplier that the batteries, on their way to his site, fell out of a truck and were all damaged. So that meant at least another 6 week delay before they can be shipped. Reason number 3 was that we had not yet secured sufficient funding to be able to house Artiglio George, our Giant Anteater. This meant that we had only one other option: release him as is, without any prior rehabilitation. This would definitely not be in his interest, as he had not been able to gain forest skills since he was a pup when he came to us. The whole idea of the center is that we will have a site in which the animals can gain survival skills prior to their release. After all, we want all of our animals to be able to freely roam the forests. Our friends from Welttierschutzgesellschaft came to his rescue fortunately. While I was traveling the construction of his enclosure started, but completely unexpectedly I received on the eve of my return to Suriname very sad news. Artiglio George was found dead in his enclosure the day before I returned. Reason number 4 is that we still do not have sufficient funding to make the center fully operational from the start. As I traveled back many things were going through my head, and somehow I was wishing that the news about Artiglio George was just a bad dream and that I would find him alive in his enclosure. However, no miracle happened. His enclosure was empty and I could only cry about this sad turn of events. After all, I was doing it for the animals, and now this was the second sad passing just as we were to move.

The Move

On the 30th of July we started preparing for the move. The whole day things were being moved to the new office space in the city, an animal-free environment. And to my house. The last load of the day was to the Sloth Wellness Center. We moved some rescue animals out of the house together with some pieces of furniture and would then be able to put all animals in their moving boxes for the move on the 31st of July. On the 31st of July we drove up and down to our new office, my new "private" house (no more animal rehab or office from home) and finally at the end of the day to the Sloth Wellness Center. It was a big operation and still not complete. In the following days we would be driving up and down to the center and the city to move the last things and finally bring also the babies to the center. 

To help us continue our work, please consider making a recurring donation to our project.

19November free again on the 1st of August
19November free again on the 1st of August

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