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Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle

by Stg Green Heritage Fund Suriname
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle
19November and 9July
19November and 9July

PROGRESS Report

Indeed, we looked back at our reports from the past years and from this same period, and we do see progress. Two years ago around this time, we had just moved from my house in the city to the forest center. First without energy, but then our solar system came on, and Ostrich and Jinkoe then could be housed in their incubator at night at the center. One year later they were roaming the trees and our center now is home to many of our wards, although you need binoculars to spot them. We do not like to keep them in enclosures for too long.

19November

And so we reported last year about our friend 19 November and her baby. And this year again, we can proudly say, she is doing really well. We suspect that on the 9thof July she had her second baby in her new home. And it is such a pleasure to see the two of them roaming the trees around the center. In my opinion she deliberately comes to trees close to our building to show off her baby 9July as we named her. Yvonne, our animal caretaker, and her twin sister, and one other volunteer Annelies, all celebrate their birthday on the 9thof July, so as we assumed the baby was born on this day, we decided to name it 9July. As can be seen from the pictures with this report, the baby is growing well and climbing from the front to the back of her mom, hanging on for dear life.

Rescues and Releases

As if word got out that we are back on the road with our rescue vehicle, animals again are lining up to be rescued. One special story was from an animal that was crossing the road not far from our center, was picked up by a family, who started to quarrel about who should have it. Then the woman who had first seen it, said to the other family members,
"I saw it first, I am going to bring it to town to sell."
So, she saved the sloth from a more obscure fate and brought it to the Zoo. The animal was then reported to us. I called this lady, and asked her about the details of the animal, was it crossing the road from the river to the forest, or from the forest to the riverside. She told me from the forest to the river. So I called my friends from Apartments Bloemendaal that I had a special sloth, that had been crossing the road towards the river, so I wanted to bring him to the location where he had wanted to go to. Our Bloemendaal friends, were pleased to bring him across in their boatSo this sloth, made a big detour to cross the road all the way to the city and back, to be brought to the river where he had been going to in the first place.  And we released him right there!

So there are always stories of hope. And we keep spreading this hope thanks to your kind support.

After so much exercise, 9July yawning from effort
After so much exercise, 9July yawning from effort
19November and 9July looking into the camera
19November and 9July looking into the camera
9July sitting upside down?
9July sitting upside down?
Off he goes, finally across the river!
Off he goes, finally across the river!
The Cock Sigfried saved a sloth
The Cock Sigfried saved a sloth

As we reported to you in our last report, now that we have almost fully funded this project, we started to reorganize our projects. We added some of its components to our other project “Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!” that we had created to build the sloth center. So we can continue to do what we have been doing now for almost 15 years, helping sloths return to where they belong: in the forest. On the 22ndof May, the International Day for Biodiversity, GlobalGiving is running a campaign for Paws and Claws, that will reward new recurring donations to our project “Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!” with a partial match. So, if you want to continue supporting this particular part of our work and had been supporting “Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle", the 22ndof May is the day to change your recurring donation to our project “Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!”.

Rescues and Releases

In the past months, we had an extraordinary drought starting in January that lasted all the way up to Easter. With a clear effect on the sloths in and around Paramaribo, as we did 63 rescues over a period of 3 months, while we normally rescue around 150 animals per year. This drought was so prolonged that leaves were falling from the trees. This meant that the leaves were not as juicy as normal, and sadly my little friend Jinkoe fell victim to the long drought. 

A frustrating rescue period

We received during this drought six very small babies, who had been abandoned by their mothers. None of these animals was over 300 g, the smallest being 220 g and the biggest 274 g. A tiny little baby, Beanie, in addition to being so frail, also did not have a tail. We always thought Jinkoe was the smallest baby we had ever seen, but these babies were unusually small. Unfortunately, we were not able to keep them alive. Two adult animals were reported and rescued by us, that had been attacked by dogs. Again, one was so badly injured, the veterinary doctors advised us to do the humane thing. The other animal although apparently not with visible injuries, in the end also passed away. This period was very frustrating for us, as we felt incredibly inept at keeping these tiny tots alive.

Some special rescues giving us hope

We provided to many of the adult animals we received special care, because a lot of them were dehydrated and some needed subcutaneous fluids, others were capable of drinking themselves and gladly took the water offered to them orally. One animal that probably had seen enough water in this dry period, was Henderic, who was sitting in water in a tire along a dock. He was successfully released in a forest along a river far away from the unfriendly dogs he had encountered. And a special mention goes to an animal by the name of Sigfried, not a sloth, but a cock. And no, we have not started saving cocks, but this cock saved a sloth. And for that, he was rewarded by us naming the sloth after him. These are stories of hope. Hope we will continue to give to animals in need with your kind support. 

As this is most likely the last report we will write for this project, we want to thank you all for making this such a successful project. And we hope to see your continued support for the sloths on our project “Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!”. Sloth hugs and Anteaters licks!

Jinkoe when she had just arrived in 2017
Jinkoe when she had just arrived in 2017
Dry leaves fell from the trees during the drought
Dry leaves fell from the trees during the drought
Gabriel one of the underweight babies upon arrival
Gabriel one of the underweight babies upon arrival

Links:

Beyond sloths...
Beyond sloths...

We created this project on Global Giving when we first joined, because this is what we do, we help sloths return to where they belong in the forest. We mostly pick these animals up from locations in the city, in someone’s garden, on their fence, hanging in the burglar bars, sometimes inside a house and sometimes hanging from the roof. Since I started doing rescues in 2005, I have seen many strange situations, but a recent rescue must have been the strangest one since I started. A sloth named Cliff found itself in a very uncomfortable situation hanging from a pole in the Suriname River. For those of you wondering how we knew its name was Cliff, we didn’t. We gave him the name when we saw in which situation he found himself. As I am still not allowed to push, pull, carry or lift, I am always accompanied by a volunteer who can; in this case George, who is our scientific advisor, who was visiting from abroad to continue the work we started doing since we co-authored “Sloths in the City”. You can read and see more about the rescue of Cliff on our website.

So what is changing?

We want to change this project “Sanctuary helps Suriname's sloths back to jungle"by either retiring it because it is almost fully funded, and adding some of its components to our other project “Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!” and start a completely new education and research project, or rewrite the current project to reflect the change in our activities. This will most likely be done in the coming months, because we need to formulate this new project and properly reflect what we do under our education and research program. For those of you who know us already and look from time to time also on our website, you know, that Green Heritage Fund Suriname is more than only sloths (and anteaters for that matter). We also work on dolphins and the marine environment and do a lot of educational work (both formal and informal).

Information Center on Xenarthra

Now that through the help also of our partner Welttierschutzgesellschaft e.V. (WTG) we were able to secure more land and construct our new storage area, which meant retiring the old timber shed that was becoming dangerously obsolete, we can start focusing more on fundraising for education. We want to set up a large information center that in a nutshell will highlight the importance of the forest habitat for the Xenarthra, will explain how climate change will affect them, and will highlight the importance of Indigenous people in shaping the Amazonian forests (in case you are interested in more detailed information please email us). It will also tell the story of this uniquely South American group of animals since prehistorical times. And yes, I know, one species managed to cross over to North America, so definitely a unique American species group. In addition, this center will have several labs for children where they can learn more about the environment and our planet through their own observations and research. This is part of our GLOBE work, which is the largest science-education effort in the world, with 121 countries participating.

Research on Urban Forest Fragments

As part of this educational and research effort and the work undertaken with George Middendorf, we want start working on the urban forest fragments, because the sloths appear to be definitely urbanophilic animals. By doing this research we hope to secure their habitat in the urban space and will work towards four different aims and objectives. 

1. promote the continued existence of viable coastal sloth populations in the wild in Greater Paramaribo;
2. prevent the decline of coastal sloth habitats, among others, by providing for the rehabilitation of cleared or otherwise disturbed sloth habitats in Greater Paramaribo;
3. promote future land use and development that is compatible with the survival of coastal sloth populations in Greater Paramaribo; and
4. providing policy direction and management approaches to address key threatening processes.

How to achieve these goals?

We have outlined our work already and it will focus on five areas. First, we need to cover the scientific basics, by conducting research and conservation. This will include a conservation genetic analysis, geographical analysis, ecological analysis of forest fragments, a biological analysis, and of course rehabilitation and shelter. The second area is legislation and policy-makers, where we will analyse the legal framework and work on improving the stakeholders network. Thirdly, we need communications, for strengthening of lines of communication and the diffusion of information, we need communication strategies to allow the general public to get closer to sloths, and we need communication as a tool to diminish threats. The fourth area will focus on education and community participation, which will include education and community participation. And the fifth area will focus on administration and institutional strengthening, bringing together decisionmakers and local stakeholders. This is all closely related to what normally happens around species action planning. And as you already heard from us, the Sloth Action Plan, was part of our current and future activities. We are in now really in the preparation phase. 

What do we want from you?

We would like to know how you as our donors for many many years feel about this change. What are your thoughts, how do you see this affecting your involvement with our work. Does this sound to you like the right way to focus our activities in. Please do share your ideas, feelings, thoughts with us, you can do that by providing feedback below when you rate this report. Thank you for any of your inputs and support so far. We look forward to hear from you.

Almost in the kennel...
Almost in the kennel...
Dehydrated animals are giving fluids by volunteer
Dehydrated animals are giving fluids by volunteer
Sloth rescue bus rammed by a speeding driver
Sloth rescue bus rammed by a speeding driver

We normally have our report in on time, even though we tend to be deadliners... This time though it is late, because I was unfortunately rammed by a speeding car that ran a stop sign on the 23rdof November. The bus was hit in the rear against the wheel, spinned 180 degrees, and facing in the direction from where I came, the sloth rescue bus came to a halt and flipped on its side… With a whiplash and some bruises, I was lucky to get out, somewhat unharmed. I was glad, there were no rescue animals in the car or other passengers. But I was definitely shaken by this. Even if we drive as safely and defensive as possible, if the other road users do not follow the traffic rules, there is little we can do to avoid traffic accidents. Fortunately, no serious personal accidents, just a lot of material damage.

Since the end of August we had the usual flow of animals, sometimes five per week, sometimes only one. And sometimes two in a day. In this past rescue period we not only rescued anteaters and sloths, we also rescued one tree porcupine.

Champ
One of the three-fingered sloths we received had been rescued by someone who saw the animal crossing the road. As there was no forest around, he decided to put the animal in his car and take it home. He put it in a cage and tried to feed it, and although the animal was not eating, it took him two weeks to finally bring it to the Zoo. As you can imagine the animal was in bad shape, it’s kidneys had started failing and he was dehydrated and skinny. Our vets Eva and Audrey, however, were determined to pull the animal through. Never before have I had an animal with failing kidneys recover. So I was a bit anxious, but as I am not a vet, I just let them do their work. My job was to give him a name that would forebode their success. So I called him Champ. Every day, Champ was given IV fluids, and after a week his diarrhea disappeared. And he started eating the leaves we gave him. His treatment continued, and after two weeks he had recovered so well, we transferred him to the center where he was observed for several more days. And boy, did Champ want to leave his enclosure when he saw all those beautiful trees. So on the 20thof October, International Sloth Day, Champ was released and looked very happy as he climbed fast into the canopy of his new home.

International Sloth Day
On International Sloth Day, we not only released Champ, but three more animals. One was a two-fingered sloth and two more three-fingered sloths. It was a very fitting way to celebrate this day. On this particular day we also saw how Jinkoe and Rory went together away into the forest. Jinkoe has been regularly coming back, but little Rory seems to enjoy himself (I think it is a he) very well in the trees and we only see him occasionally in his favorite tree, and he has been back only twice. Both Jinkoe and Ostrich like to roam into the forest for several days at a time, and they come regularly back to sleep in their buckets for the night to leave again in the morning. All of them, with the exception of our sleepy two-fingered babies, left before the official opening. As if they did not feel like seeing all these people roaming around their houses. As the official opening was over, they started coming back again.

Say no to selfies with sloths!
And we re-launched our campaign to not take selfies with wild animals, and in particular not with sloths on the 20thof October. This campaign will mostly be run using short videos that we will spread through social media, and in particular in the platforms most used by visitors, interns and tour guides.

World Anteater Day – 29 November 2018
And please check out our website or facebook page as it is World Anteater Day on the 29thof November.

As always, thank you for your support, and please check out our Thanksgiving post for some amazing glass sloth art from one of our loyal donors.

Four animals released on International Sloth Day
Four animals released on International Sloth Day
Champ leaving for his new home. Is he waving?
Champ leaving for his new home. Is he waving?
International Anteater Day on the 29th of November
International Anteater Day on the 29th of November

Links:

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
 

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Organization Information

Stg Green Heritage Fund Suriname

Location: Paramaribo - Suriname
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @moniquespool
Project Leader:
Wynne Minkes
Paramaribo, Suriname
$36,033 raised of $37,500 goal
 
656 donations
$1,467 to go
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