QCOSTARICA – The Toucan Rescue Ranch in the Costa Rica has found a novel way of rehabilitating sloths into the wild.
At the animal rescue centre, the furry mammals, which can be found in South and Central America, like nothing more than climbing trees in the rainforest and hanging upside down from branches snoozing 15-18 hours a day.
But orphaned baby sloths, whose mothers may have been killed by dogs or run over by cars, need extra help to hone their tree-climbing skills.
Lucy Cooke, a zoologist and documentary maker, photographed a number of the lazy fur balls in May when she visited the Toucan Rescue Ranch. In the Costa Rican centre the sloths learn how to climb by spending their days on rocking chairs.
“They climb up the rocking chairs and the rocking chair starts moving and that’s why it’s such a brilliant way to teach them how to climb because it mimics the movement of a tree and gets them used to something which isn’t entirely stable,” Ms Cooke told Barcroft Media.
Ms Cooke has also produced calendars featuring sloths.
“I think you cannot resist an animal that was born to hug and has a natural smile.”
The calendar has been a hit so far and Cooke believes it’s not only the sloths’ cuteness, but also their routine of sleeping up to 20 hours a day that appeals to humans.
“I think that’s why the sloth calendar is so popular, it’s a reminder to be more mindful and mellow — plus those smiles are just so adorable,” Cook said.