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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!
Mimi sleeping close to his mum
Mimi sleeping close to his mum

This is Mimi, we think Mimi is a he, but we could be wrong. Three-fingered sloths remain a gender mystery until they become one year old. Before that, we can only guess, look at how they behave and just feel like that is a male or female. Mimi swipes at us a lot when we give him and his mum food. It looks like play, but sometimes it is definitely intended to hurt us. Fortunately, Mimi is still a baby, so we consider it play. Only when a three-fingered sloth reaches the age of one year old, does a spot in the back form, in case it is a male. Females do not develop this spot.
Although we now have the Xenarthra rehabilitation center, where all animals should go that need treatment, the Corona crisis has also left us in a situation where we had to revert to doing things we used to do them. Mimi and his mum are living for the moment in my living room. On a huge ladder. At first, they were living in a small tree in my living room.
Right when the first soft lockdown period started in Suriname, and we all started working from home, Yvonne, our animal caretaker, also fell ill with the flu. We were at minimal staffing, and this animal needed extra care. Mimi’s mom was severely wounded and it looks like she will never have 20/20 vision again. She had been attacked by humans, her face was a bloody mess. It was difficult for me to look at her, and not feel pain. This meant the animals could not be transferred to the center for treatment and care.
And then there was Mimi. Mimi and his mum were all the time together. This female sloth had a reason to live, she had a baby to take care of. And we had to take care of her, to ensure her baby would grow into a healthy juvenile that would find his own way in the forest. Although we have almost all the materials ready to start building a new enclosure, due to the pandemic, there were restrictions on traveling outside of your area, we were not allowed to be with more than 5 persons in one place, etc., etc. So, now, Mimi has lived here for already 2 months, and grown a lot. At night I would see him going up and down in the tree, practicing his climbing skills, while his mom would sit quietly, while her face was healing. Now we are planning to build the enclosure in the coming weeks. So that they can live closer to nature and Mimi can start practicing in taller trees, instead of a ladder or the branches of food we hang for him and his mum.
In this time of humanitarian crisis, animal rescues continue. We thank you for your continued support in these extraordinary trying times for all of us. On the 15th of July there will be a Bonus Day, please consider making a major gift on this day to help us continue our work for the animals.

Mimi when he had just arrived
Mimi when he had just arrived
Recent picture of a happy Mimi
Recent picture of a happy Mimi
Mimi sitting next to mum
Mimi sitting next to mum
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Tarzan waiting for us to be picked up
Tarzan waiting for us to be picked up

Amid the global coronavirus crisis, our work continues.

Though we are working from home, Suriname is a country that has not been widely affected by the coronavirus. As the animals are not affected by the pandemic, we continue to have 2 to 3 rescues a week. On some days, because of the partial lockdown that is keeping Surinamers in their homes, we are starting to see even more calls than usual. Additionally, climate change also continues despite the pandemic. And our animals are suffering from a prolonged dry period—more and more require intensive care and treatment. From our experiences last year, we know that times of drought can be particularly rough on the animals, and climate change has led to more extreme weather of all kinds, including longer droughts, flooding, and even small tornadoes. All of these issues are particularly harmful to the animals, causing habitat destruction and leading to increased injuries.

These issues are still pervasive, even during our uncertain times. As such, our team is working tirelessly to answer rescues and provide all necessary care to sloths, anteaters, and any other animals which may need it. We are also continuing our other programs, promoting conservation and monitoring dolphins and other marine life.

We have had many success stories. A recent case is that of Tarzan, a sloth named by the children of the man who rescued the animal from a dog’s mouth. Tarzan had been attacked by a dog—a common occurrence for displaced animals in cities, and an occurrence which increases during drought periods, as the animals move more often in search of fresher pastures. We rescued Tarzan, monitored his condition, and even gave him x-rays to discover the source of his injuries. His care case was a success, and Tarzan has fully recovered. Tarzan was released as soon as we had finished his treatment.

We were also able to help reunite a three-fingered baby sloth with her mother from a distance. Please read this amazing Mother’s Day Story on our website.

We thank you for your support, now more than ever. Even as our every-day lives are altered by the pandemic, the Green Heritage Fund Suriname continues our work of rescue and rehabilitation. With your aid, we are able to provide the best possible care to each animal that comes our way.

Unloading timber for new temporary stay enclosures
Unloading timber for new temporary stay enclosures
Anteater receiving treatment in our rescue van
Anteater receiving treatment in our rescue van
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Aguilar teaching interactively anteater medicine
Aguilar teaching interactively anteater medicine

Another year has raced by in which we did 148 rescues. We received more reports, but we were not able to get to all of them. For example, someone who called at half past midnight, obviously did not reach us. In the morning, the animal was no longer there. Of these 148 rescues, unfortunately 11 animals did not make it. All other animals were released. And one of those animals we reported on in our last report was Aza-Sita who was in rehabilitation with her broken arm. On the last day of 2019, Aza-Sita was let go. Her arm had healed well and she was also longing to be free, always sitting as high as she could in the enclosure. Such small victories make it all worthwhile.

We started the year in the first full week of January with a Medicine of Anteater workshop taught by Roberto Aguilar DVM, a well-known anteater and wildlife vet, who traveled especially to Suriname to teach for eight Surinamese veterinary doctors. The purpose of the workshop was to inform the Surinamese veterinarians in detail and to enrich their knowledge using case studies and collected data from many different rehabilitation facilities in order to prepare them best for incoming patients in the future. The main goal of Green Heritage Fund Suriname, with which many of the participating veterinarians are already working together on a voluntary basis, is to rescue injured and debilitated animals, restore their health and release them back into their natural habitat.

And this was the opportunity that 19November saw to bring in 9July for treatment of its eye infection on Monday, the first day of the workshop. Aguilar supervised the vets while they were treating the eye-infection. Together they decided 9July would have to remain in our care for three days and be treated three times a day. On Wednesday, the second workshop day, while the veterinarians were gaining practical experience, we observed 19November coming very close to us. As if she was checking to see when we would let 9July go again. After the vets completed their practice and had lunch, we decided to let 9July go. Its eyes were completely cleared up, and it looked rather happy to be free again. 9July had trusted her mother who now has known us for 7 years, to treat it and let it go again.

Thanks to our partner WTG and you, our GlobalGiving donors, we were able to hold this workshop and provide the best care to one baby sloth living close to us. 

9July receiving treatment of its eye infection
9July receiving treatment of its eye infection
Posing dressed in anteater medicine t-shirts
Posing dressed in anteater medicine t-shirts
Released to its mother after treatment
Released to its mother after treatment
Before treatment sitting in the scales
Before treatment sitting in the scales
After treatment just before release
After treatment just before release
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Aza-Sita exercising with her splint
Aza-Sita exercising with her splint

The long dry season was starting to take its toll around the second week of September. Rescues were once again increasing and we saw a similar pattern as earlier in the year when we were experiencing the drought. Animals would come in dehydrated or wounded as they came in conflict with dogs and were not able to defend themselves because of weakness. One such animal was reported on a Saturday while we were all out in the field doing a project in a local community just prior to the end of the school holidays. Our volunteer vet Eva ensured that the right contacts were made, and that the animal was transported to the vet on call that weekend. The sloth had a broken arm. The last time, the fracture was too complicated and could not be set. But this time it was a clean cut, and it was a young animal. As she was still weak applying a splint or surgery could only be done if the animal was strong enough.

From our experience earlier this year, the animal was given intravenous fluids for several days, and she was visibly improving even though she had to be in a lot of pain. One thing our vet Eva noticed, as well as the vet treating her, was that this young female sloth was supporting her own arm with her other arm. After 5 days the surgery was planned in the evening, after normal business hours. Although the idea had been to sedate her and perform surgery, after a very thorough examination Leontine, the vet treating her, decided to apply a splint on the exterior and not to perform surgery. After the splint was set, which was not a simple task, the vets decided to name her. Fabienne, the vet on call said Sita, and Eva said Aza, because it means strong in Swahili. So we mostly refer to her as Aza-Sita, and she is indeed strong, Strong Sita. The splint was removed two days ago. And the bone has healed.

In preparation for her increased mobility and rehabilitation the volunteers decided to renovate one of the enclosures in the weekend that International Sloth Day is celebrated. This would be our first enclosure that was going to be built around a tree. Our carpenter Orlando had prepared all the wood and it would be a reasonably simple task of fitting all pieces together. However, it was also the first time we were building such a high cage, 4 meters high! Fortunately, two athletic volunteers used to tree climbing were in no time in the tree and the enclosure was almost completed. We hope to complete it this weekend, when we have the additional materials, so that Aza will be able to start exercising her arm.

Our continued efforts to improve our rehabilitation work would not be possible without your support. The well-being of every single animal making a slow but steady recovery makes it worthwhile for us every single time.

Volunteers posing after a hard day of work
Volunteers posing after a hard day of work
Some of the work in action for Aza-Sita
Some of the work in action for Aza-Sita
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Frankie on her daily walk in the garden
Frankie on her daily walk in the garden

In our last report, we gave a broad overview of the happenings of the dry months that started out our year, and the many, many rescues we did. After that incredibly busy time, we had a short period of no rescues, just caring for the animals that are at the center. And then we started again on our usual schedule of an animal or two a week. Mostly sloths, and for the past two weeks, from one specific location around Lelydorp. Last Wednesday, we had a total of five animals, so the bus was stacked full with passengers looking for a better life in the forest. One of the animals was Frankie, an anteater that had stayed with us for almost 2 weeks.

Frankie was found by a good soul on a road around 80 km outside of Paramaribo, in the District of Brokopondo. And she had apparently been hit by a car, but was not dead. She arrived at our offices the next day, and appeared to be in a state of shock and weakness. When we took her to the vet, she had regained already some of her strength, and was mainly defensive. That was not making it easier for us to examine her. So the vet was going to come by the next day, when she was a little bit more settled in and no longer so scared of us. Frankie slept a lot, which is good when you have a bad headache, and when the vet visited, she was not as restless. However, we did find that she had a parasite in her foot and in her digestive system.

To treat her, we would have to give her either medicines by injection or through her food. Neither one was easy. After four days, she started to eat the food, instead of just stepping on it and in it. And then something pretty amazing happened. As I was preparing her food, I heard a snort. I was not sure whether Frankie was doing that, but for sure, when she saw me with the food, she did it again. Frankie was talking to me! She actually had gotten the taste of the food, and now was instructing me to make a bit more haste. It never ceases to amaze me how these completely wild animals connect with us, interact with us, and cease any defensive behavior. Once they understand that you are helping them, they start to direct us and indicate what they need.

Frankie stayed with us for a bit longer than normal, because we felt that we had to give her a good start. She really enjoyed all the food we gave her, from frozen termites nests to yoghurt with supplements. And when we let her go, she left at ease, she immediately started to check out her surroundings.

On the 9thof July we started to paint an educational mural with a student group from Tulane University. The design was made by a well-known Surinamese artist and the animals we worked with were displayed in their actual sizes next to each other, so we can provide people a sense of the difference in sizes of the sloths, anteaters and armadillos we work with. We did see Ostrich around in the trees surrounding the center, but we did not see 19November. We continued the work on the mural over several weekends with other volunteers and we hope to finish it by the end of August.

Then my sloth friend 19November surprised us a few days later, when she showed up again, showing off her new baby. We decided to call it 9July, because we all had the feeling it was 19November showing us that she also could create something.

With your support, we continue to care for sloth and anteaters in trouble. We make daily efforts to improve the circumstances under which we rescue, rehabilitate and release the animals, ensuring their individual well-being one at a time.

Impression of the focused work done by students
Impression of the focused work done by students
9July climbing on her mother's head
9July climbing on her mother's head
Tulane students posing in front of their work
Tulane students posing in front of their work
Our mural, a work in progress
Our mural, a work in progress
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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
$49,623 raised of $90,000 goal
 
496 donations
$40,377 to go
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