Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!

by Stg Green Heritage Fund Suriname
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Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Sloth Sanctuary Suriname sequel: the whole story!
Two-fingered baby sloth Sid drinking his milk
Two-fingered baby sloth Sid drinking his milk

Amazingly, another year has passed, and the 24th of October will mark our 16th anniversary. It all started with Lucia, a baby sloth stolen from its mother by a vagrant. And the loss of a dog that was scared of firecrackers. When my dog ran a way completely frightened, I could not have known that I would be known locally and internationally as the sloth lady sixteen years later. In addition, I could not have known how many passionate sloth lovers there are. People who, like you, would be there to support the work we do with sloths, anteaters, armadillos, and other animals (like this juvenile spectacled owl) we help from time to time. Something I am deeply grateful for.

From helping to save one animal at a time, our work has increasingly focused on community engagement, education, and protecting – or at least advocating for it – complete ecosystems. Something I had the honor of doing at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. As a representative of Suriname, I presented during the Climate and Biodiversity-themed week during the Dignified Storytelling session by Dubai Cares. Advocating for the protection of all our coastal forests, from the mangroves on our coast to the swamp forests right behind them. I made a case for protecting rather than restoring. And for producing a sustainable product like honey with communities in need of alternative livelihoods. In doing so, we would immediately be saving all the forests for the species we work with.

In the past sixteen years, we did not only build a rehabilitation center and an organization. We built a community of volunteers that support our work. A community of animal lovers and environmental activists from young to old. A community of donors and followers who are actively interacting with us. Something we welcome and learn from. And to whom we report, how our project is doing, and the animals we work with. Even though we do not always have good news to tell.

No project report is complete if we do not highlight at least one animal. In our last report, we reported on Jupo. Jupo, who managed to self-release on the 3rd of July, because a tree destroyed the enclosure's fence she was supposed to stay in. We hoped she would return, but we also knew that she was an excellent termite eater and would survive in the pristine swamp forests around our center. We are convinced she is roaming around in the woods and knew she was strong and healthy when she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Unfortunately, when one baby goes, it rarely takes long before another baby shows up. Sid is our most recent addition, a baby two-fingered sloth. Sid is fierce and independent, and growing well. Drinking milk, but also eating leaves and fruits. And as soon as the sun sets, Sid comes out of his "bedroom" and starts practicing on the jungle gym. The baby-anteater called Poppy, who arrived in February, is now already a juvenile, allowed to roam free in the forest. She still eats at home as a soft-release, although sometimes she misses a meal for one or two days. Cattaleya, who is now more than big enough, is probably what we should call a failed rehabilitation animal. Cattaleya, prefers to stay in her "bedroom", has learned herself to do her business in an area around the center, but always returns. We think she has managed to train us perfectly well to ensure her meals never are late. In the meantime, many animals still pass through the center weekly, who just need a better place to stay. As has been the case in 95% of our rescues in the past 16 years: they all hail from our capital Paramaribo. Sometimes in most unusual places, such as this two-fingered sloth, who decided to sleep above the kitchen of a well-known BBQ restaurant.
We definitely hope we can continue to count on your support for the next 16 years. We hope we can together move from saving one animal at a time to saving complete ecosystems and creating sustainable futures for animals and humans alike.

Juvenile spectacled owl
Juvenile spectacled owl
Sloth in difficult situation after dog attack
Sloth in difficult situation after dog attack
Releasing animals into the wild is our main goal
Releasing animals into the wild is our main goal
From city to forest, free to roam
From city to forest, free to roam
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Jupo finally drinking some milk
Jupo finally drinking some milk

In the sloth wellness center in Saramacca, GHFS staff, veterinarians and caretakers rescue sloths, anteaters, and armadillos and receive interested visitors. We currently have a special guest: it's a girl and weighs 8 kg: meet Jupo, the giant anteater baby!

An anteater under official guardianship
Officials of Nature Conservation and the Public Prosecutor's Office immediately took action when an employee of GHFS reported to them in early March that a baby giant anteater was offered for sale on Facebook. The three men who illegally wanted to sell the animal were arrested, and the animal was confiscated. The prosecuting officer then turned the animal over to the care of GHFS. Our giant baby is an official 'ward of the state': she is under the guardianship of the State of Suriname. And as foster parents, the staff of GHFS also has to report regularly on her development!

International aid
Caring for the baby is not easy. Because we have little experience with the care of giant anteaters, we asked two experts of the Xenarthra specialist group for help: a veterinarian from Mexico and a zoo veterinarian in the United States. Grateful use was made of a beautiful Argentinian book, which documents the experience of an Argentine wildlife organization with the capture and reintroduction of giant anteaters in their proyecto ibera. The book has helped GHFS understand how best to care for and raise the animal to be released. GHFS Director Monique Pool says, "When the animal had just arrived, she was very stressed and would not accept food. Therefore she needs a temporary (human) mother. Her caretaker Yvonne spends time with her every day and strokes her on the belly. This belly contact helps build the animal's trust: Young animals have contact with their mother through the belly as she carries her infant around on her back. Even when they have become big juveniles, young giant anteaters prefer to hang around on their mother's back until the mother has had enough and even has to run away to teach her young to become independent. But you mustn't touch her on her back because she experiences that as a threat." Fortunately, Jupo is doing well now. She grows well and allows herself to be touched by her surrogate mother, Yvonne. "But that contact with people is also a dilemma because we hope that in a few months, we can release Jupo back into the wild, and then, of course, she should not have become too accustomed to people."

Puberty
In the wild, young animals stay with their mothers for up to a year. Jupo is, therefore, still too young to be released. Monique: "We think she is about 3-4 months old, but we can't be sure because we can't compare her with anteaters of the same age in captivity. Those are usually much too fat! However, based on her behavior, we can estimate Jupo's age: for example, did you know that giant anteaters exhibit adolescent behavior? Just like human adolescents, they prefer to sleep all day!"

Kitten milk from the Netherlands
Jupo has already gained 1.5 kg since she came to GHFS and now weighs 8 kg. She drinks up to 2.5 liters of milk every week, supplemented with termite nests. It is pretty challenging to find enough suitable milk: the entire Surinamese supply has been used up, which is why sister foundation GHFS Netherlands has sent a few kilos of special low lactose kitten milk. Besides that, she is already eating termites. Every day the caregivers in Saramacca go into the forest to 'harvest' termite nests: they saw off a small piece of the termite nest so that the nest is not destroyed, but the termite population can recover itself. The caretakers learned this sustainable eating habit from the anteaters themselves, who do the same in the wild, traveling up to 6 km every day to visit all their 'fixed' termite nests. When Jupo grows up, her caretakers will also take her on walks to learn to harvest termite nests herself. In addition, she will slowly get used to nature in a special enclosure in the forest behind the Sloth Wellness Centre.

We thank you for your continued support, without your help we would not be able to rescue animals like Jupo. Thank you!

Jupon with surrogate mom Yvonne
Jupon with surrogate mom Yvonne
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A last friendly wave from 19November
A last friendly wave from 19November

With a heavy heart, I have to inform you of the passing of a dear friend only a few weeks ago. Her name was 19November. A sloth I learned to love and who communicated with us until her end.

You may remember the many reports we spent on her. She was famous beyond our borders. Remember when our volunteers while visiting Costa Rica wrote: “to see in the San Jose tourist market ‘our own’ long term rehabilitation Bradypus tridactylus sloth going by the illustrious name of ‘19November’ on a tourist license plate as if she were a local Bradypus variegatus from Costa Rica. But hey, we know better!”

And then the CNN Heroes nomination announcement was made with a picture of 19November. And then on the 1st of August 2017, we moved to the center and 19November moved from the balcony into the forest. We wrote a report about her first baby at the center. She was a clear rehabilitation success. Thriving and reproducing. Every year she brought us a new baby. What made these babies so special was that 19November communicated with us and came to show her babies. We told you about when her baby fell from the tree at night. And our super-caretaker Yvonne heard the baby wail and retrieved it from the forest floor. She brought the baby in and kept it warm. And 19November came to get her baby the next morning when Yvonne brought it to her. We reported on how she trusted us to take care of her baby when he was experiencing an eye infection at the beginning of January. But she came also down to see if we were going to let it go after the three-day treatment. And in June she again brought us a baby. The third one. We saw June grow up and at the end of December mother and child had parted ways. At the beginning of January, I saw a sloth sitting high up in a tree. And I knew that if it was 19November she would respond to my whistle. And she did. I whistled several times. Was it a sign that she waved at me? We will never know.

Two weeks after that day, Yvonne called me early in the morning. As she went to feed the two-fingered sloths, she found a dead sloth on the ground. As we wanted to know why she had died at the age of 9, we performed a necropsy. We did not find any reason for an early passing. We learned from the necropsy that she had again conceived. Had she been bitten by a poisonous snake? By a scorpion while she came down to the forest floor to defecate? We will never know. But even as she was dying, she wanted us to know that she was leaving us, by moving to a place where we for sure would find her.

Going to her home will not be the same, I will always expect to see her in the trees. We hope her babies will continue to grace us with their presence because their mother was very special to all of us.

We thank you for your continued support and leave you with some warm sloth hugs, something I definitely need right now.

Just arrived in November 2012
Just arrived in November 2012
The last baby rescued during Slothaggedon
The last baby rescued during Slothaggedon
June, the last offspring of 19November
June, the last offspring of 19November
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Lucia sloth the first baby sloth cared for by GHFS
Lucia sloth the first baby sloth cared for by GHFS

What started with the care of one orphan baby sloth. Has developed into a 15-year-old adolescent foundation on the way to adulthood. On 24 October 2005, the Green Heritage Fund Suriname was established to create a basis for fund formationon behalf of sloths who get in trouble. During the same period, it was with the encouragement of Nicole Duplaix, giant otter researcher, and George Middendorf, ecologist and herpetologist, that systematic datacollection was started by the volunteers of the foundation of the dolphins that were spotted during theboat trips to Braampunt n the Suriname river.

In recent years, the foundation has become increasingly independent and not only offers shelter to sloths, anteaters and armadillos (and the occasional porcupine), in 2018 the foundation even opened a professional shelter in the forest for these animals. The veterinarians who have been providing the care their knowledge was also strengthened about these wild animals in recent years through workshops provided by foreign experts. More than 1000 animals have been rescued, cared for and released in a safe environment. Since 2016, a partnership has been established with Welttierschutzgesellschaft e.v., an animal welfare foundation from Germany.. In 2012, the foundation gained international acclaim for its rescue effort in a forest fragment in Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, home to more than 150 three-toed sloths.

Parallel to the development of the sloth program, the foundation's dolphin program developed. From a focus on the dolphins in the Suriname River, that focus shifted to their habitat and the ocean. In the meantime, the foundation has earned laurels when it comes to the systematic collection of data about the sea of Suriname and converting them into awareness-raising materials and providing lessons about the sea of Suriname in schools and other public places. The foundation believes that human activities, including fishing, shipping or exploitation of the resources of the marine subsurface, are developing rapidly. Increased knowledge of our marine area therefore seems fundamental to better determine the effects of these activities. The conservation of species and habitats thus requires better integration and management of human activities in Suriname's marine landscape. Continuing our efforts to fill the gap in knowledge about marine ecosystems as well as about human activities can reconcile environmental protection and economic development.

In recent years, the foundation's education and research program has also been further developed and a number of scientific publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals. Interns and many volunteers have contributed to the creation of materials and the training of individuals in a variety of disciplines, from collecting scientific data to conducting short scientific studies within the context of their school curriculum. The knowledge that the foundation has acquired has been recognized through the membership of M. Pool in expert groups from the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN).

The work of the foundation would not have been possible without the support of the many volunteers, employees and interns throughout the foundation's entire period of existence. Scientific support from local and international academics has helped the foundation give its publications the authority required for its purpose. In addition, there has always been a positive collaboration with various government agencies, including the Nature Conservation Division, the Fisheries Service and the Veterinary Service of the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Education. The work of the foundation would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of the entire Surinamese community, the many national and international donors, supporters and sponsors.

It is impossible to capture the entire history of the foundation in two pages. In this stage of its existence, the foundation has decided to adapt the logo with which the foundation presents itself. Although the name remains unchanged, a number of words have been added to highlight the work that the foundation is engaged in. The waves in the new logo also show that the foundation is involved with life in water. Green Heritage Fund, Protecting Nature and Wildlife in Suriname. With the support of the Surinamese community, the Green Heritage Fund will continue to work for at least another 15 years for nature and wildlife in Suriname. So that we can all live in harmony with nature. A major fundraising event will not be held at this time, but it is in the offing, adapted to the circumstances of the world today. Green Heritage Fund Suriname would like to thank everyone who has ever contributed to the work of the foundation in the past fifteen years, and in particular we want to thank you for being there for us. 

Dank u, Gran Tangi, Thank you!

Our new logo also showing our blue heritage work
Our new logo also showing our blue heritage work
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Dora and Dori transferred to the Rehab Center
Dora and Dori transferred to the Rehab Center

Since our last report, we have rescued 30 sloths and released an equal number. One notable rescue was this past August when we rescued a sloth from a tree. Irshad who had called us told us she had a baby. Now it may sound weird to you that we would climb a tree, and remove a sloth from it because after all, that is where they live! But Irshad told us, he was worried about all the dogs in the neighborhood that could attack her because when he found her she had been on the ground. So we managed to remove her from the tree and upon more close observation realized that someone had cut off her nails. Unfortunately, she was not a normal wild animal, she had been in captivity! From under her armpit, two bulging brown eyes too big for the smallish face looked at us. It was clear why people fall in love with these babies and kidnap them, these babies are too cute for their own good.
Volunteer Sharen named them Dora and Dori. And although Dora quite clearly disliked our species, she, fortunately, did accept the food we offered her. And as small as Dori was, he already was eating quite independently. After a check-up by the vet, the pair were transferred to the Sloth Rehabilitation Center to be kept in observation. But due to a human mistake, the pair managed to leave the enclosure and disappeared. We were all worried, although our location is a safe place in the forest. This animal did not have her claws intact. Then we all breathed a sigh of relief when the pair was spotted a few days later, in the tree right above the enclosure, which happens to be one of their food trees. Dori was sitting next to his mum, and it was quite clear, that the two had a bond with each other and Dori was little by little exploring the surroundings while his mother was watching him closely.

This 14th of September through the 18th of September, the Little by Little campaign will run celebrating the fact that many small donations can bring us forward a lot. For every online donation up to $50, we will receive a match at 50%.

We appreciate every extra small donation as our world and economies are changing in unprecedented ways during this pandemic. Your continued support in these extraordinary times means a lot to us and the animals we care for.

We have recently launched a new project on GlobalGiving for our community project with sea turtles. If you like these amazing reptiles please check out our project and see how we are also little by little trying to make a positive impact on the conservation of these threatened animals.

There is clearly some communication going on
There is clearly some communication going on
Trying to rescue a sloth from a house
Trying to rescue a sloth from a house
Rescue van in for service, but rescues must go on
Rescue van in for service, but rescues must go on
Two raccoon pups found were reunited with parents
Two raccoon pups found were reunited with parents
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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
$89,368 raised of $120,000 goal
 
868 donations
$30,632 to go
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