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.
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
Wet, but away from the busy road
Sloth on its way to freedom
Baby sloth with orange-haired face
Reunited with mama sloth after two days