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
Sloth in difficult situation after dog attack
Releasing animals into the wild is our main goal
From city to forest, free to roam