By Nick Reardon
In September of 2019, the Rescate Wildlife Center received a special Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth named Annie. The Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth is named after German naturalist, Karl Hoffmann who discovered the species. Annie was found without a mother at only five months old in the coastal city of Dominical. Annie came to the sanctuary extremely malnourished and underweight, in desperate need of care and love from the Rescate workers. To provide Annie comfort and security, she was provided with a surrogate stuffed sloth animal to cling onto in place of her mother. This surrogate stuffed animal not only provides her comfort but also helps Annie build up her muscle strength. She has the opportunity to climb all over her surrogate stuffed animal, which helps Annie strengthen her muscles and learn how to properly climb around.
In order for Annie to be ready to be released back into the wild, she needed to gain weight and learn how to navigate the trees as a sloth should be able to. After weeks of clinging on to her surrogate stuffed animal, Annie started to be able to hang on to real branches as a wild sloth does. During her rehabilitation, Annie befriended another sloth rehabilitating in the sanctuary named Chepito. The two orphaned sloths loved each other’s company and frequently comforted each other. It is very common for orphaned sloths to cling onto each other to provide comfort while at the sanctuary. Typically baby sloths cling onto their mothers for six months virtually nonstop to feel comforted and safe.
During Annie’s stay at Rescate, she was able to surpass the critical mark of weighing at least two kilograms. This meant that Annie could now stay outside on her own on Rescate’s outdoor enclosure, which was a huge milestone in her journey back to the wild. Annie was able to practice skills such as climbing real tree branches and getting used to the external sensations of being outside in the wild jungle. She was also able to learn how to eat leaves and vegetation independently, which is important to a sloth’s survival in the wild. Annie is able to leave her outdoor enclosure any time she feels like she is ready to embark on her journey back to the wild. Without the love and care of the Rescate Wildlife Center staff, Annie would have not survived.
To help save wildlife such as Annie there are many ways YOU can help! First, you can donate to organizations such as Rescate that are passionate about saving and persevering wildlife species. There are also several small ways in your everyday life you can help save wildlife. The production and transport of food is very damaging to the environment, so eat locally grown food whenever possible! You can also be more conscious about saving energy. Simple acts such as turning off lights when you leave a room or turning off your computer overnight are easy ways to help save wildlife all over the world.