30 June 2017, 15:00
Few animals are as cute as a sloth. You wouldn’t think it, if you see the slow mammal hanging on a branch, but once the sloth looks at you – with his beady eyes and panda smile – you are done for. In the film Tuintje in mijn hart (Little garden in my Heart), a loiri (the Sranan name) is featured. “I refused to cooperate with the film crew,” says Monique Pool, who rescues sloths and brings them back to nature. In her view, cuddling makes it difficult to rehabilitate the animals. The more forest disappears in Suriname, the more sloths come into trouble. Pool returned over seven hundred animals back to the forest over the past ten years.
Her house appeared to be a zoo until recently. In the guest room a baby anteater is sleeping, in the bathroom seven sloths are hanging on her towel rack. One of them quickly scoots out the door (2.5 meters per minute). At the end of June Pool’s Nature Foundation Green Heritage Fund Suriname finally opens a professional rehabilitation center where visitors are welcome. Cuddling is not allowed, but you can look at dozens of sloths and anteaters from nearby. Staff at the research and education center provide explanations and point out the hiking trail in the neighboring forest. The rehabilitation center is an hour’s drive from Paramaribo, but sloths are certainly worth the ride.