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.

A Special Guest

By Ted van Hooff

‘There’s a sloth in a car tire above the water behind my house.’ We find sloths in the strangest places. When Eric calls us about the guest that has been staying in his backyard for the last couple of days, we know we’ve got a special case at our hands.

When we arrive at Eric’s home near the Suriname River, we are greeted by five large but friendly dogs. That explains a lot.

Our mission is clear: getting the animal out of the tire without Monique, Eric or the sloth taking to the seas. The dogs are sent inside and the catch pole, net and crate are laid out. Eric’s wife, son and employee assist us. Optimistically, the six of us set to work.

The sloth is less optimistic. He disentangles himself from the noose – a unique achievement – and returns the net. After a brief wrestling match he grants us the victory and reluctantly lets himself be lowered into the crate. The job is done.

Eric treats us to homemade lime juice and as we sit at the garden table he proudly tells us about the nature that surrounds his home. The sloth is christened Henderic.

Meanwhile, Henderic has been doing a lot better. He recovered from his adventure at the sloth wellness center and was released near Bloemendaal the next day, where he is happily hanging from a branch, unhindered by dogs and catch poles.

Thank you Sigfried

By Ted van Hooff

When Sigfried, a cock who is always alert, starts to crow at a tree in a backyard in South Paramaribo, his owners suspect something is wrong. Sigfried has spotted an intruder: a three-fingered sloth is hanging lonely on a branch.

 

 

The Green Heritage Fund is called in. While Sigfried is kept at a distance with a broom – no intruder is safe in his yard – Monique climbs into the tree to catch the sloth. It is an emaciated male with nails that are too short. Most likely someone kept him as a pet. Long nails are considered a danger when keeping an animal like this at home and for that reason they are often cut off.

 

 

The sloth will gain his strengths in the sloth shelter of Green Heritage Fund Suriname in Groningen and ultimately be released into the forest where he belongs. But before that happens, his nails have to be long enough. He needs them to groom his fur and to be able to climb. As a result of his slow metabolism, the nails of sloths grow very slowly. It may take up to two years before this animal can climb around in the forest again with proper nails.

Thanks to Sigfried’s alertness that day will for sure come.

 

Thank you from the Sloth Wellness Center-Slothful New Year 2018!

 

Visuals by Stellar Tsang

When we heard on the 4th of January that we really had to move, we were shocked because we had a deadline, but also grateful that our landlord gave us the opportunity to set our own deadline. He even allowed us when the time neared to extend it by a month. So we moved, we had some troubles along the way, but we overcame all of them. We are now almost ready to officially open the center, even though we have been running rescues and releases all through the year.

All this, we could not have done without the support of our Volunteers, our donors and all the people that were involved in constructing the center. Therefor we want to thank you all and on the eve of a new year wish you all the best for 2018. We hope to see you again online or in person.

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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

 

One Little Bright Star was added to the Constellation of Sloth

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When you hear that there is talk about stars and constellations, you already are bracing yourself for unpleasant news. Someone must have died. And indeed, regrettably we do not always have good news. One of our most beloved and followed little friends has taken his place in the Constellation of Sloth. Our little friend Glenn, who was doing his best to hang on to see his new home become a reality. Although Glenn loved his food and his sloth smoothie, he failed to thrive and somehow did not seem to get all the nutrition out of his food. At a certain moment we even decided to help his digestion by adding probiotics to his diet. Glenn received a lot of love from our overseas and local volunteers. Gabriella, Esi, Greta and Kasie – all from their respective countries to help us care for the animals and also with our other projects – and our local volunteers Ann, Stellar, Yvonne, Lori, Jonathan, Kavita, Patrick they all helped him in their own way and loved him dearly. Our vets Audrey and Leontine both gave their expert assistance. Patrick built him his special climbing rack, the other volunteers gave him smoothie and fysiotherapy and all of us gave him lots of love. He was our little star. He was persistent and did not want to give up, but his small body was failing him. I guess why, we will never know. Maybe he had left his mother so early that he missed some essential bacteria in his gut to assist him in getting all nutrients out of his food, maybe the antibiotics for his infected wound caused a negative side-effect, we will never know. What we do know is that we have to prevent animals from being shot in the first place, because then little Glenn would not have to face the ordeal he had to without his mum. Our centre will have an important educational function, and stories like the story of Glenn will be highlighted to make people understand why target practice on life animals is wrong. If love could have saved Glenn, he would have lived forever.

Glenn’s story

Baby Glenn came in huddled in a small box. The young lady, who did not want her picture taken, told me that she had found the baby in an overgrown plot in her street. She thought the mother was dead, but did not know for sure. They had fed him bread, milk and bananas and had fed him with a bottle. Her friend had tried to sell the animal through facebook, but received threats and kind and unkind nudges to give the animal to the Green Heritage Fund Suriname. They panicked and tried to get the animal over to our facility as soon as they could. It was Easter Monday, a national holiday, and we had gone out to release some animals. They were waiting at the gate as we pulled up the car. Before she hurriedly left, she said: “Oh, his name is Glenn”. Glenn stole everybody’s heart with his good looks and eager attittude when we were feeding him. Although I had noticed something on his leg, I had not thoroughly examined him as our vet was also out of the country. But then one of our volunteers complained that he smelled. When we examined him, we found an infected  shotwound in his hindleg. Now we were sure that his mother was dead. We cleaned out the wound immediately, and brought him the next day to another vet, who again cleaned and inspected the wound and confirmed it was a shotwound. He received medication and we continued to clean it out daily. Glenn received physiotherapy as his leg was weak and he was not so good at moving it. His growth was also stunted and our vet Audrey regularly came to check on his progress. For Glen the Rehab center cannot be built fast enough. However, the heavy rains of the rainy season delayed the construction activities.

More sad news

Strange enough, the week in which Glenn died, was a week of more sadness. Not only was I taking Glenn in and out of the office of the vet, we had another patient, also with shot wounds, who had arrived on the 31st of August. She was barely alive when I collected her from the zoo. She also must have been target practice for some stupid idiot. The animal had been found near the Zoo and she apparently had given up. We rushed it to the vet who gave it infusion fluids and looked at what I thought was a bullet wound. The next day it was again examined, one bullet was lodged in its paw, the other one in its back, a few centimetres from the spine. We thought she was going to make it, because she was eating very well, despite being in a lot of pain. However, after a full week, we realized that she was paralyzed to the extent that she could not release herself. Together with our vets Audrey and Leontine, I had to take the difficult decision to let her go. She joined our Little Bright Star Glenn, who had passed away a few days earlier in the Constellation of Sloth.

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