Saturday, October 15, 2011

{Costa Rica 2011} - Day 10 - Sloth Sanctuary!

Sloths!  I had one goal for this tour, and it was to hug a sloth.  I didn't get to do that.  Boo.  But I got to see awesome sloths of all sizes and that made me happy. :)

The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica is a wonderful facility.  Here they take in orphaned and injured sloths and nurse them back to health with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.  There are many reasons that baby sloths are abandoned but the reason that adults end up in the sanctuary is usually more heart breaking.  Roads, power lines and other man made death traps are invading their forests.  Many are hit by cars or mistake live power lines for vines or tree branches and get electrocuted and severely burned.  Good samaritans often bring the injured and abandoned sloths to the rescue or call the staff to come and pick them up.  The rescue began when a an orphaned three fingered sloth was brought to the owners of what was then a hotel.  Knowing little about sloths, they began to research and found themselves drawn to the mission of helping preserve these amazing creatures.  That very first sloth was unable to be released into the wild and has been with them ever since.  Her name is Buttercup and she's awesome.
Buttercup in her swing greeting the visitors.

They have several adult sloths that are recuperating from injuries and some that will be permanent residents of the sanctuary like Buttercup.

No one knows if sloths are actually happy or not, but they're always smiling! That's just how their faces are shaped!
These two were hanging out together in the little sloth condos.
He had an itchy tummy, and a stuffed animal!
And of course there was a sloth nursery for the babies!  There were several cages with a variety of species in them.  Some were paired or grouped because they got along well and comforted each other and others had to be in cages alone.

Baby sloths!

There were even teeny tiny babies in a laundry bucket!  These photos are all a little blurry because we couldn't use flashes.

Babies in a bucket, eating some leaves.

Our guide was the son of the owner and was very knowledgeable about the sloths.  He held one of the young sloths and I was so very jealous!

Our guide and the young sloth.
This was probably my favorite baby sloth tho.  He had a broken arm and is healing with a little purple cast.  Look at that adorable face!  He was getting around really well in his cage and hanging from the branches so he's well on his way to recovery!

I want to boop his nose!
Our tour included a boat ride in their canals as well and there we saw a large male sloth climb all the way down to the ground and back up another tree.  It was incredible!  Just a sloth in the wild near a sloth rescue.  I was afraid he was going to poop because they apparently only come down to the ground to poop or change trees.  Luckily, this was a tree change. :)  Unfortunately my camera battery was dying and my spare was in the car so I couldn't get many photos of this.

Large male sloth.  You can tell by the markings on his back.

Climbing down the tree.
There was also an education center with a video and some interesting skeletal models and informative displays.

Skeletal displays.

Oh, and this sloth head cutout thingie.

I need more eyeliner to be a proper sloth.

The sloth sanctuary is well worth the visit and was an awesome experience.  They do great work there and I was touched by their obvious affection for the sloths.  It was $25 for the tour and worth every penny!

We got a little hot during our boat ride so we got some tasty beverages for the drive into Puerto Viejo!

Cheers to cold beer and AC!

Next post, Puerto Viejo!

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