Thankful at the End of 2022

Yvonne releasing an animal back into the forest

We have a lot to be thankful for at the end of this year. We had many interns and volunteers turn up to help with our work. Frances entered data for all our Paramaribo rescues of the past five years while immediately mapping them. Wianda entered data from many, many years of feeding our temporary stay animals. Loren worked hard to keep a starving giant anteater pup alive and put her vet skills to work for us. Roberto provided expert advice from a distance with many of our critical rescues. Sean and Gini and a crew of Indigenous assistants helped maintain the educational trail and other parts of our rehabilitation center.

Karen and her volunteers helping to keep our driveway passable

Karen and her team of volunteers came more than once to help us maintain the driveway to the center. Shovel sand into the enclosures to compensate for the heavy rainfall that caused more water to stand longer in new places. Ingrid came with her Batik group and her teacher Sri to finish our educational mural. Irenka and Mailo helped save an animal from the illegal wildlife trade. Dominiek came with his students to inventory the trees in our sacred little forest to improve the educational story. Volunteers came to help finish the enclosures for the animals to start getting used to the forest.

Visitors witness a release and are educated on the biology of sloths

Our Rehabilitation Center Team, in the meantime, ensured the continuous care of all our animals – permanently living in the trees, semi-permanently on their way to freedom, and those just passing through.

Yvonne taking care of one of the baby sloths

Our city team worked tirelessly to rescue animals in the city from uncomfortable situations in houses, under roofs, tied by malicious people to a fence, and shot by hunters or gunmen without a conscience.

The vets we work with, either online or locally, gave it their best to try to save animals in critical condition, burned, shot, or otherwise debilitated due to the situation they came from.

Vet volunteer Loren with our vet Astrid tending to a patient

We gave interviews and presentations and produced educational materials to help raise awareness of how humans are the greatest threat to wildlife, whether directly through hunting, trafficking, other human-wildlife encounters or indirectly due to climate change.

Start screen of our educational series

We celebrated our volunteers during our volunteer event at which two sloth awards were handed out to Natascha Wong A Ton, for having provided more than a decade long financial advise. And to Sharen-Vess Schaap, the once youngest volunteer, and now the volunteer that has supported us for almost 14 years.

Volunteers at the event to celebrate the sloth awardees

Thanks to the financial support of many donors, visitors, and our partner Welttierschutzgesellschaft, all this was made possible for us in 2022. The almost 130 rescues, the rehabilitation of the animals that needed it, the releases. Our educational tours, awareness, and advocacy.

Resting on her surrogate mother, Sheep is taking in the world

We are immensely grateful for the support of our volunteers, donors, visitors, by-standers and our partner. We wish you all a fantastic 2023! We hope to welcome you to our center one day.

How are baby sloths born?

Sheep just started to drink

Have you ever wondered how a baby sloth is born? Although I know that baby sloths are born in trees. I just realized on the 27th of September that it is a risky business! On the 27th of September, we received a call that a baby sloth had been found on the ground in someone’s backyard. So we drove over, equipped with our Bluetooth speaker. We thought the mother could not be far and wanted to amplify the baby’s cries to lure the mother to her baby.

However, when we arrived, we learned the baby had fallen off its mother the day before. Crying for its mother. And discovered by the man because of that. He did not dare leave it because he had cats. But by now, almost 24 hours later, the poor little two-fingered baby sloth had weakened so severely it could not call anymore. We realized this was an accident that happened during or shortly after the birth. The membranes were not completely removed, so the baby may have fallen while the mother had been licking it to remove the membrane. We looked and looked, but no adult sloth was near. We left with the baby because we could not reunite it with its mother. The man who had called us told us he regularly saw these two-fingered sloths and estimated there were five in the trees in his backyard.

We were on our way back for almost 10 minutes when he called us again. He had found the mother in the tree. We turned around, and yes, indeed. There was an adult two-fingered sloth in the tree near where he had found the baby. We tried to get its attention, but no response. Two-fingered sloths sleep during the day. After trying to get it to move for 15 minutes, we gave up. Maybe it was an aunt or the father. It was, in any case, not interested in us humans.

We asked the man before we left if he wanted to give the baby a name. He told us that his son had given it the name: Sheep. He called all animals sheep, because his father kept sheep in the backyard. Interestingly, two-fingered sloths are called in our local language skapuloiri, which means “sheep sloth.” Sheep is now almost two months old; after the first week of intensive care, we felt Sheep’s condition stabilizing. Now, Sheep is already starting to eat leaves and has become more aware of his surroundings.

Cleo traumatized by loosing her mother

Not long after we received Sheep, two more baby sloths were reported to us. In this case, two baby three-fingered sloths. As our animal caretaker has been on a long holiday since the end of September, the care for the babies fell on me. And although tiring, it reminded me why I am doing what we do. To give these baby animals a second chance to live a whole life.

Thanks to your support, we can give Sheep, Mailo, and Cleo a chance to have their own babies in the future.

A Mother’s Day Miracle in French Guiana

A beautiful Mother’s day story to show how important the bond is between a mother sloth and her baby.

When Laure from French Guiana reached out to us about an abandoned baby sloth in a forest near her home, we knew we needed to spring into action. Read how we helped Laure reunite a scared, baby sloth with his mother in the forest of Javouhey. 

Laure walked outside just a few meters before she noticed a small baby sloth

After living on the outskirts of a forest in Javouhey, French Guiana for six months, Laure has grown accustomed to hearing the chirps and howls and all of the other sounds that come from the wilderness. But when she heard the small cries of a baby creature from inside of her home, Laure knew something wasn’t quite right—and decided to take a look. 

Laure walked outside just a few meters before she noticed a small baby sloth sitting on the ground, screaming out sad, scared cries. She looked up into the canopy and noticed a large, female sloth—the baby’s mother—but the mother wasn’t alone. She was fighting with another sloth high in the tree-tops while her baby cried out for her on the ground. With predators lurking everywhere in the forest, Laure was too scared to leave the little baby behind. 

“I stayed for one or two hours because I was so afraid that an animal would come and eat the baby. I left the forest briefly, but after a while I returned, hopeful that the mother had taken her baby with her. When I returned, the little baby was still crying on the ground while the mom had climbed even higher than before—and a tayra had even arrived on the scene! I think it must have heard the baby sloth crying. I couldn’t stand to watch the baby cry for his mother, so I decided to take him in for the night.” 

Laure put the baby sloth to sleep in a box with a teddy bear inside of her home, where he slept comfortably throughout the night. But she knew that the baby’s best chance for a long, happy life was a reunion with his mother—so she decided to reach out to us. 

“I have heard that some babies are reunited with their mothers thanks to the baby’s cries, and I hope to try tomorrow in the early morning,” she wrote. “He is so small, tinier than a human hand, and he really needs his mother—how can I interest her in taking her baby back?”

As our team knows all too well, sometimes mothers are forced to abandon their babies due to a lack of good leaf quality due to drought. Our director, Monique, wrote back and warned Laure of this possibility while sharing advice for the best chance of a successful reunion:
“Dear Laure, 
Please try to reunite the baby with the mother. Maybe you can record the baby’s cry and play it over a loudspeaker to the mother until she comes down to get her baby. Please keep the baby warm at night, around a temperature of 32 degrees Celsius. Please be careful that you do not make the temperature too high, because the baby cannot regulate its own temperature. If you have goat’s milk, you can give the baby some drops of goat’s milk with a pipette.” 

The baby sees the mother high up in the tree.

After reading Monique’s advice carefully, Laure put the baby sloth to sleep with warm milk. Determined to give the baby his best chance of survival, she rose well before sunset the next morning and made her way to the forest. Around seven o’clock in the morning, she began playing the baby’s recorded cries from her computer, hopeful that it would attract the mother’s attention and draw her back to the place she last saw her baby. At 5 pm, Laure gave up and decided to return home.  As she walked back through the forest, bringing the baby with her, Laure noticed that it was hard for him to listen to the sound of his own, pained cries. As the evening sun began to set, Laure’s hope in a happy reunion began to dwindle. Almost home, she was stopped in her tracks when something magical happened. 

“As I was walking, I noticed two sloths sitting across a small river near my house, and I decided to give it one more shot. I placed the baby on the ground and hid behind a bush. The baby began to cry out, and the female sloth began to move, slowly but with determination, across the river over the canopy. She climbed down the trunk of the tree, and I moved as quietly as I could—just a few meters further away—to witness one of the most beautiful moments of my life. The baby saw his mother and began to cry out. I swear, his cries changed, and it sounded like he was saying “ma-ma.” When she put her feet on the ground, his mother began to blow or growl … so loud that I wondered if there was a jaguar nearby! Thankfully, I never found out why the mother was growling. I watched as she put her feet on a small tree and stretched out in a horizontal position. She smelt the baby and took him up with her arm. Then she turned around, put her arm with the baby on her tummy, and curled up. She smelt him again and wrapped him up in a big hug. She looked around one last time while her baby wrapped his arms around her neck, and then she crossed the canopy to the other side of the river with her baby holding on tight. I have no videos and no photos of this moment because my battery had died, but it is no matter—today was perfect. I remember it so vividly, it’s as if I had a camera in my head. It was a perfect ending!” 

A perfect ending, indeed—what a beautiful way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Thanks to Laure for sharing her beautiful story and for her hard work in reuniting this baby with his mother.

With thanks to Laure for sharing her story, Presley West for editing and Jacquelyn Briggs for her beautiful illustrations

These drawings are a mother’s day present from Laure.

Breaking news from the Sloth Wellness Center

We have now moved a little over a year ago to the Sloth Wellness Center, where the long-term residents Lucas, 19November and Ann (5 years in our care), as well as Anna (1 year in our care) and Beertje have found a new home in the forest surrounding our facilities. We regularly see 19November, Anna and Beertje who come to show themselves to let us know they are doing well. And maybe because they miss us a little bit (who knows?).

Last Friday, 19November was seen by a visitor who noticed that she was not alone. YES! She has a baby… The baby was named after the visitor, Madeleine Lamb, and we now see 19November and Maddy (short for Madeleine as we do not know if it is a boy or a girl) regularly around (it’s been a week). And we already love Maddy. She is curious like her mom, and we have seen her suckling also several times. So this is a first time that we are sharing the pictures with all of you, which were taken by the Lamb family and our returning intern Gabriella Abbott-Gribben.


First picture by the Lamb family. Madeleine saw the baby first.

The Lamb family also made a really amazing video of Maddy.


Maddy looking down at all those people staring at her


Maddy looks like she is sniffing her mother’s armpit, but instead she is suckling.

Baby sloths starts eating leaves already with the mother as of the third day, while it continues to suckle from her mother’s breast. In sloths the mammary gland is located in the armpit. The baby also licks regurgitated leaves from the mother’s mouth, that way she learns what leaves to eat.

Picture Report Sloth Wellness Center 3

This picture report highlights the daily activities, biodiversity and animal adventures at the Sloth Wellness Center in August. All photos by Stellar Tsang.


Another two-fingered sloth is released into the forest behind the center.


A dragonfly is taking a break from hunting for food


Iguanas also love the same leaves the sloths eat


Our youngest resident Jinkoe is eating voraciously and growing slowly


Our baby anteater, now a juvenile, loves to hang out in the trees (all hands, feet and tail loose!)


19November showing us from time to time that she is doing well


A Green Aracari couple, this is the female, lives in the forest around the Center


The male Green Aracari is never far away


Anna from time to time graces us with her presence opposite the center


During the butterfly season many different species fly around in our forest

 

Picture Report Sloth Wellness Center 2

This picture report highlights a day at the Sloth Wellness Center, 10 days after the move. All photos by Stellar Tsang.


As the rescues continue in the city, animals are regularly released around the Sloth Wellness Center


Annelies, one of our loyal volunteers is visiting the sloths at the Sloth Wellness Center


The big balcony is still chaotic as we do not have yet have financing for furniture for the center


The metal stairs at the side of the building leading up to the private space of the workers at the Sloth Wellness Center


The animal treatment room has two windows so that a sufficient natural light source is present


The sloth rescue bus is most active in the city these days and making many miles


A side view of our Sloth Wellness Center


The container building offers enough space for all activities to ensure the wellness of the animals


Isa, the sloth that was born in my house in the city, prefers to stay on the balcony


Elly is also staying nearby in the trees around the center


The leaves of the cecropia are a big favourite of the three-fingered sloths


Boots are required when working in the field

 

 

Picture Report Sloth Wellness Center 1

This picture report highlights a day in the lives of different animals prior to the Move to the Sloth Wellness Center. All photos by Stellar Tsang.


Rescues and releases never stopped in the period up to and during the move.


This animal found at a factory had an incredibly sweet face.


Ostrich prior to moving to the center enjoying some leaves


Johannes who was prior to the Move allowed to climb trees in the garden is taking a nap


Johannes looking down at us


One day before the move, as we just released some animals we were feasted on a beautiful sunset


A view of the animals transported a day prior to the Move to be released at the center


A two-fingered sloth released into the forest just before sunset


Hairs are growing back on Stoney’s nose. His claws were cut and he suffered from a parasite that was successfully treated by us

A Very Special Animal: the Sloth

Ruben Leter and his colleague student Bregje Bouma from the School for Journalism in Utrecht, the Netherlands, visited us just before we are moving. For the TV program NOON, which is broadcast every Friday on RTV Utrecht, 10 students from this school travelled to Suriname for two weeks to make two episodes. We were very pleased that they made this beautiful film about the sloths.

#GivingTuesday Sloth Wish List

An abandoned baby sloth healing from a parasitic infection
An abandoned baby sloth healing from a parasitic infection at our temporary shelter

 

Baby sloths are given goat's milk to survive when they no longer have a mother
Baby sloths are given goat’s milk to survive when they no longer have a mother

Sometimes sloths get in situations where they hurt themselves because of the fences we humans build.
Sometimes sloths get in situations where they hurt themselves because of the fences we humans build.

They are regularly weighed to ensure they will grow up to healthy adults
They are regularly weighed to ensure they will grow up to healthy adults

Sloths will heal faster in the natural environment of our future rehabilitation center.
Sloths will heal faster in the natural environment of our future rehabilitation center.

Mommy and Baby Sloth Visiting a Human Family

When Abhay came home from school his mother was not yet home to have lunch with him. So he wanted to enter the house to prepare his homework for tomorrow, when he saw two unexpected guests sitting on a chair on the balcony.

A mommy sloth with her baby was sitting on the back of the chair and taking a nap
A mommy sloth with her baby was sitting on the back of the chair and taking a nap

Abhay immediately went to his neighbour to get help, because what to do now, he was a little bit afraid, and did not dare enter the house! His neighbour called the fire brigade and helped Abhay in his home.  The friendly neighbour who was also a bit afraid of the sloth and her baby asked the fire brigade if they could come to remove the unwanted guests. And that is when I received a call from the fire brigade. I was just driving back in the Sloth Rescue Van from Saramacca where I had had a meeting with the authorities about the future Sloth Rehab Center. As I was still far away from the city, I asked the officer to call the house number and ask my colleagues to help with removing the animal.

Mommy sloth and baby were now save in a sloth carrier and Abhay was no longer afraid
Mommy sloth and baby were now save in a sloth carrier and Abhay was no longer afraid

Yvonne and Meriam went over to see how they could help. The sloth mommy, who had been whistling and defending her baby before they arrived, calmed down after Yvonne talked to it. And she let herself be removed from the chair and put in a sloth carrier. At the temporary shelter they were fed and given water. They were famished, because within a few minutes they had eaten all the leaves, and were immediately given more.

On the 25th of November, Suriname’s Independence Day, this sloth mommy and her baby were sailing towards their freedom in Saramacca. They could not wait to be back in the forest. The little one stayed close to its mommy at all times.

Sailing towards their freedom. Picture courtesy of Suriname Holidays, Suzette Eeltink.

Mommy and baby sloth back in nature.
Mommy and baby sloth back in nature.

 

This #GivingTuesday, donate $25… help us save a sloth from a unwanted situation

 

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