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  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 9:48 pm on October 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Costa Rica, , , , , , , , sloth day, , , , tico times, venezuela, , , ,   

    Happy Sloth Day via Tico Times 

    Buttercup @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica

    Jo Jo @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica

    Becky Cliffe @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica

    Featured image

    Happy International Sloth Day!!!! A wonderful day to celebrate my favorite animal!!!! So proud of all the hard work Becky Naomi Cliffe @ Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica has done to research how to reintroduce orphaned, hand raised sloths.

    See More: http://beckycliffe.com/sloth-science-2015/

    Related: My battle with Leishmaniasis: a flesh-eating parasite By: Becky Radcliffe

    In my second year at the University of Manchester I studied parasitology, and the terrifying images of dramatic lesions and extreme elephantiasis are burnt vividly into my memory. Of course, I never considered that one day I would become one of those horror stories. In July I was diagnosed with a tropical flesh-eating parasite called Leishmaniasis, and for the past 10 weeks I have been battling to regain my health. We never fully appreciate how lucky we are to be healthy, and unfortunately I learnt this lesson the hard way.

    What is Leishmaniasis?

    Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania. There are actually 21 different species of leishmania, and they are found throughout Asia, Africa, South/Central America and Southern Europe. The parasite can be found in many different mammals, but the only way for it to be transmitted to a human is through the bite of an infected sandfly. When an infected sandfly bites a human, the parasite is transmitted into the body and replicates within the human macrophage cells. I was diagnosed with a type of infection called cutaneous leishmaniasis, which basically means that the disease appears as a lesion on the skin at the site of the original sandfly bite. This wound then continues to grow, and can spread to other areas of the body. Often, it will infect the mucosal lining of the mouth, nose and ears causing serious disfigurement. In minor cases, the infection heals itself within a year, however in most cases (including mine) treatment is needed.

    The Leishmania parasite life cycle

    Leishmaniasis and sloths 

    Unfortunately, sloths are often thought of as being dirty, lazy animals that transmit diseases and parasites. One of the many diseases that people blame sloths for is leishmaniasis. Many local people are terrified of sloths for this reason, and sadly they pass this fear down through generations. I have lost count of the number of people that have asked me if a sloth can give them leishmaniasis. The simple answer is no. This misconception stems from a few scientific studies that have found sloths to test positive for the leishmania parasite. They are, in scientific terms, a ‘reservoir’ for leishmania, but so are many mammals – including dogs! There is no way a sloth can transmit leishmaniasis to a human – this only happens through the bite of an infected sandfly. It is just one of the many negative myths that the sloths are burdened with!

    My journey

    I remember the sandfly that bit me. I was walking my new puppy on the beach at dusk and was annoyed by the itchy bump that later appeared on my arm. I forgot about it and only really noticed something unusual when the bite was still there two weeks later. Nobody seemed particularly concerned by the little scab on my arm, and I probably left it far longer than I should before seeking a diagnosis. We watched the little hole in my arm slowly grow for 4 weeks before deciding to have it tested. Within 24 hours, the doctor had called and told me that I had tested positive for leishmaniasis and should begin treatment immediately. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

    As it turned out, there are no nice treatment options. The Costa Rican method involves up to 60 injections of glucantime – a toxic chemical that kills the parasite but also comes with a high risk of liver and heart damage. That didn’t sound like much fun, so I decided to seek treatment in the UK since I had been due to return during August anyway. When I finally arrived at my doctors office and presented him with a flesh-eating parasite, he looked at me like I had two heads. I was advised to go to the emergency room at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to find more specialised help. I don’t think that many people turn up at the hospital claiming to have leishmaniasis, since doctors of all shapes and sizes turned up to see the girl with the flesh-eating parasite. It’s safe to say that many people looked at me like I had two heads that day.

    I was finally introduced to the wonderful Dr Tim O’Dempsey. He took a biopsy of my arm (much to my horror) and told me the bad news: the UK treatment options aren’t much better than the toxic Costa Rican injections. Furthermore, I had to wait 5 days for the biopsy results before I could do anything at all – we had to just sit and watch the hole continue to grow in my arm. It was an overwhelmingly creepy feeling knowing that something was munching through the flesh on my arm and I couldn’t do anything to stop it! Depending on the species of leishmania I was infected with, I now had two treatment choices:

    1) I could be admitted to hospital for three weeks of intravenous medication (chemotherapy), which basically involves the same toxic chemicals as the Costa Rican injections (think heart problems and liver failure). Famously, TV presenter Ben Fogle endured this treatment after contracting leishmaniasis in Peru, and he ended up bed-bound with pneumonia – no thank you!

    2) OR I could trial a new oral medication from Germany called Miltefosine. This horrifically expensive drug comes with a bunch of awful side effects, including sickness so severe that many people simply can not finish the treatment. This option wasn’t guaranteed to work either, and had never before been used to treat leishmaniasis from Costa Rica. Furthermore, this medication is only effective against one subspecies of the parasite – the most dangerous subspecies.

    As it turned out, fate made the decision for me. I was diagnosed as having the dangerous subspecies (one that is prone to infecting the mouth and nose causing disfigurement) and so I was prescribed 4 weeks worth of Miltefosine pills. I began treatment immediately and initially, things looked promising. The hole in my arm stopped growing, and the pills weren’t making me too nauseous. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise it at the time but this medication takes a huge toll on the immune system. My arm was healing but I was becoming weaker every day. Within three weeks, strange painless lumps had started to appear all over my arm and my lymph nodes were inflamed. By this point I had returned to Costa Rica and was looking forward to getting back to normal – but normal was a long way off.

    The lumps grew, and one in particular became very sore. It turns out that these were abscesses growing under my skin as a result of a staphylococcus infection. Within a few days I was feverish, my heart rate was up and my blood pressure dropped – all very bad signs of a systemic infection. I was rushed to a local doctor who prescribed antibiotic injections and bed rest. The rest was a roller-coaster. The injections (that were unfortunately in my bum cheek) left me with a second infection, which quickly developed into a large abscess leaving me unable to walk or sit down. I was forced to waddle everywhere. After one of the most uncomfortable weeks of my life, the doctor surgically drained 10 ml of pus from the abscess, and prescribed stronger antibiotics. I then developed further infections in my eye and mouth, all requiring treatment. And then to top everything off, a final infection in my left arm that also had to be surgically drained and my arm stitched up.

    My arm after surgery

    So today I am writing this, finally feeling like my roller-coaster ride is coming to an end. The leishmaniasis on my arm is healing, and the infections are finally going away. I still have stitches in my left arm and I have a few days of antibiotics left – but I have gone almost a week now without any new symptoms developing, and I am finally beginning to regain my energy (and most importantly, I don’t need to waddle anymore)! It has been a horrific journey, but I will never again be taking my good health for granted.

    Now, I am finally ready to put my snake boots on and get back out in the jungle! It’s been a while since I have been able to follow up on the  Sloth Backpack Project, so it’s time for me to get productive. http://www.slothsanctuary.com/blog/

    More Information: World Health Organization Disease Management info: Lleishmaniasis

     POST-KALA-AZAR DERMAL LEISHMANIASIS: A MANUAL FOR CASE MANAGEME

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 3:16 am on September 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Costa Rica, el nino, , , flood warning, , , , , , , , , , , , tsunami warning, ,   

    Severe El Niño events will lead to coastal flooding and erosion 

    Map courtesy NOAA

    The projected upsurge of severe El Niño and La Niña events will cause an increase in storm events leading to extreme coastal flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific Ocean, according to a multi-agency study published Monday in Nature Geoscience.

    The impact of these storms is not presently included in most studies on future coastal vulnerability, which look primarily at sea level rise. New research data, from 48 beaches across three continents — including Hawaii — and five countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, suggest the predicted increase will exacerbate coastal erosion irrespective of sea level rise affecting the region.

    Researchers from 13 different institutions analyzed coastal data from across the Pacific Ocean basin from 1979 to 2012. The scientists sought to determine if patterns in coastal change could be connected to major climate cycles.

    Although previous studies have analyzed coastal impacts at local and regional levels, this is the first to pull together data from across the Pacific to determine basin-wide patterns. The research group determined all Pacific Ocean regions investigated were affected during either an El Niño or La Niña year.

    When the west coast of the U.S. mainland and Canada, Hawaii, and northern Japan felt the coastal impacts of El Niño, characterized by bigger waves, different wave direction, higher water levels and/or erosion, the opposite region in the Southern Hemisphere of New Zealand and Australia experienced “suppression,” such as smaller waves and less erosion.10881697_595527693881949_8814641042094097058_n

    The pattern then generally flips: during La Niña, the Southern Hemisphere experienced more severe conditions.

    The published paper, “Coastal vulnerability across the Pacific dominated by El Niño/Southern Oscillation” is available online.

    Abstract: To predict future coastal hazards, it is important to quantify any links between climate drivers and spatial patterns of coastal change. However, most studies of future coastal vulnerability do not account for the dynamic components of coastal water levels during storms, notably wave-driven processes, storm surges and seasonal water level anomalies, although these components can add metres to water levels during extreme events. Here we synthesize multi-decadal, co-located data assimilated between 1979 and 2012 that describe wave climate, local water levels and coastal change for 48 beaches throughout the Pacific Ocean basin. We find that observed coastal erosion across the Pacific varies most closely with El Niño/Southern Oscillation, with a smaller influence from the Southern Annular Mode and the Pacific North American pattern. In the northern and southern Pacific Ocean, regional wave and water level anomalies are significantly correlated to a suite of climate indices, particularly during boreal winter; conditions in the northeast Pacific Ocean are often opposite to those in the western and southern Pacific. We conclude that, if projections for an increasing frequency of extreme El Niño and La Niña events over the twenty-first century are confirmed, then populated regions on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean basin could be alternately exposed to extreme coastal erosion and flooding, independent of sea-level rise.

    Japan Tsunami: Victims remembered

    See more: via: http://www.nature.com

    References:

    1. Nicholls, R. J. et al. Sea-level rise and its possible impacts given a ‘beyond 4°C world’ in the twenty-first century. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 369, 161181 (2011).
    2. Hallegate, S., Green, C., Nicholls, R. J. & Corfee-Morlot, J. Future flood losses in major coastal cities. Nature Clim. Change 3, 802806 (2013).
    3. Young, I. R., Zieger, S. & Babanin, A. V. Global trends in wind speed and wave height.Science 332, 451455 (2011).
    4. Mantua, N. J., Hare, S. R., Zhang, Y., Wallace, J. M. & Francis, R. C. A Pacific decadal climate oscillation with impacts on salmon. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 78, 10691079 (1997).
    5. Wolter, K. The Southern Oscillation in surface circulation and climate over the tropical Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, and Indian Oceans as captured by cluster analysis. J. Clim. Appl. Meteorol. 26, 540558 (1987).
    6. Wolter, K. & Timlin, M. S. in Proc. 17th Clim. Diagnostics Work. 5257 (CIMMS and the School of Meteorology, Univ. of Oklahoma, 1993).
    7. Rogers, J. C. & van Loon, H. Spatial variability of sea level pressure and 500 mb height anomalies over the Southern Hemisphere. Mon. Weath. Rev. 110, 13751392 (1982).
    8. Hemer, M. A., Church, J. A. & Hunter, J. R. Variability and trends in the directional wave climate of the Southern Hemisphere. Int. J. Climatol. 30, 475491 (2010).
    9. Wallace, J. M. & Gutzler, D. S. Teleconnections in the geopotential height field during the Northern Hemisphere. Mon. Weath. Rev. 109, 784812 (1981).
    10. Kuriyama, Y., Banno, M. & Suzuki, T. Linkages among interannual variations of shoreline, wave and climate at Hasaki, Japan. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L06604 (2012).
    11. Storlazzi, C. D. & Griggs, G. B. Influence of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events on the evolution of central California’s shoreline. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 112, 236249 (2000).
    12. Sallenger, A. H. et al. Sea-cliff erosion as a function of beach changes and extreme wave runup during the 1997–1998 El Niño. Mar. Geol. 187, 279297 (2002).
    13. Allan, J. C. & Komar, P. D. Climate controls on US West Coast erosion processes. J. Coast. Res. 22, 511529 (2006).
    14. Abyswirigunawardena, D. S. & Walker, I. J. Sea level responses to climate variability and change in northern British Columbia. Atmosphere 46, 277296 (2008).
    15. Barnard, P. L. et al. The impact of the 2009–10 El Niño Modoki on U.S. West Coast beaches. Geophys. Res. Lett. 38, L13604 (2011).
    16. Heathfield, D. K., Walker, I. J. & Atkinson, D. E. Erosive water level regime and climatic variability forcing of beach–dune systems on south-western Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Earth Surf. Land. 38, 751762 (2013).
    17. Smith, R. K. & Benson, A. P. Beach profile monitoring: How frequent is sufficient? J. Coast. Res. 34, 573579 (2001).
    18. Ranasinghe, R., McLoughlin, R., Short, A. & Symonds, G. The Southern Oscillation Index, wave climate, and beach rotation. Mar. Geol. 204, 273287 (2004).
    19. Harley, M. D., Turner, I. L., Short, A. D. & Ranasinghe, R. Interannual variability and controls of the Sydney wave climate. Int. J. Climatol. 30, 13221335 (2010).
    20. Thom, B. G. in Landform Evolution in Australia: Canberra (eds Davies, J. L. & Williams, M. A.) 197214 (Australian National University Press, 1978).
    21. Bryant, E. Regional sea level, Southern Oscillation and beach change, New South Wales, Australia. Nature 305, 213216 (1983).
    22. Clarke, D. J. & Eliot, I. G. Low-frequency variation in the seasonal intensity of coastal weather systems and sediment movement on the beachface of a sandy beach. Mar. Geol.79, 2339 (1988).
    23. Phinn, S. R. & Hastings, P. A. Southern Oscillation influences on the wave climate of south-eastern Australia. J. Coast. Res. 8, 579592 (1992).
    24. Dee, D. P. et al. The ERA-Interim reanalysis: Configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 137, 553597 (2010).
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    27. Mori, N., Yasuda, T., Mase, H., Tom, T. & Oku, Y. Projections of extreme wave climate change under global warming. Hydrol. Res. Lett. 4, 1519 (2010).
    28. Dobrynin, M., Murawsky, J. & Yang, S. Evolution of the global wind wave climate in CMIP5 experiments. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L18606 (2012).
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    30. Semedo, A. et al. Projection of global wave climate change toward the end of the twenty-first century. J. Clim. 26, 82698288 (2013).
    31. Previdi, M. & Liepert, B. G. Annular modes of Hadley cell expansion under global warming.Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, L22701 (2007).
    32. Arblaster, J. M., Meehl, G. A. & Karoly, D. J. Future climate change in the Southern Hemisphere. Competing effects of ozone and greenhouse gases. Geophys. Res. Lett. 38,L02701 (2011).
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    35. Cai, W. et al. Increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming.Nature Clim. Change 4, 111116 (2014).
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    37. Cai, W. et al. Increased frequency of La Niña events under greenhouse warming. Nature Clim. Change 5, 132137 (2015).
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    39. Erikson, L. H., Hegermiller, C. A., Barnard, P. L., Ruggiero, P. & van Ormondt, M. Projected wave conditions in the Eastern North Pacific under the influence of two CMIP5 climate scenarios. Ocean Model. (2015).
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  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 12:05 pm on June 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , becoming whole, Bradypus variegatus, buttercup, celebrating earth day, Choloepus, Costa Rica, , , , , , jeff corwin, judy arroyo, , preserve, protecting the vunerable, rainforrest, , sloth news, , , , ,   

    Our rainforests are home to millions of species. We must preserve them for future generations. 

    Dear Friends,
    Since our last newsletter, we celebrated Earth Day with Almond Trees donated by generous sloth fans from around the globe, updated our Buttercup Inn guest rooms and welcomed popular animal and nature conservationist Jeff Corwin, who was enchanted by our rescued baby sloths!Speaking of which, we’ve rescued a record number of orphaned infants needing incubators and round-the-clock care. We’re trying to understand the biological/environmental reasons why mothers are abandoning their tiny babies, as well as the seemingly ever-increasing incidence of twin births when a mother can only successfully raise one baby (requiring abandonment of the other.) With all the new arrivals, we need to purchase an ultrasound machine and expand our NICU–stat!
    The Number One question we get: “May I hold a sloth?” In the recent past we allowed volunteers to handle sloths, so there are tons of photos online of people holding sloths. But last year we were alarmed to discover how stressful it was for sloths to be held by strangers. They appear outwardly calm, but experience acute tachycardia. Unlike a human baby, they don’t cry or fuss, but their hearts race in fear. Sloths–as huggable as they look–are wild animals with unpredictable self-defense behaviors, such as biting or scratching. Also, travelers bring foreign microbes and allergens that can affect the sloths’ immune systems. For their well-being and yours, we do not allow guests to touch, hold or hug sloths.
    And please keep away from roadside scammers who let you hold a sloth for a photo. They simply knock an innocent animal out of its tree, exploit it for quick money, then allow the animal to die from lack of nutrition. When the next tourist comes along who wants to hold a sloth for a photo, they repeat this inhumane practice. It’s literally the opposite of the work we do. Thank you for understanding.
    All the best,
    Judy Avey-Arroyo
    Judy Avey-Arroyo


    A lovely family found a baby sloth in Guapiles–a 5-hour drive round trip for us to make this rescue! The sloth was alone in a tree overhanging a river, no mother in sight. The baby fell from the tree, and when the family replaced it, the baby began crying out and acting erratically–probably trying to attract its absent mother’s attention–causing it to fall again. That’s when the family called us for a rescue.We believe the baby is female and about 5 months old–unprepared for independence. She weighs 810 grams and, on her first night here, ate an entire leaf, a promising sign of self preservation.We asked the young granddaughter what to name the baby sloth. She chose Nube (“Cloud” in Spanish), because she felt that her recently late father sent the baby from above … through the clouds.

     
    Fresh insight into Bradypus food intake

    In March I was delighted to publish my latest scientific paper entitled: “Sloths like it hot: ambient temperature modulates food intake in the brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus)” in PeerJ, the award-winning biological and medical sciences journal.During the study we measured exact levels of food intake in three-fingered sloths and investigated how these levels were affected by changes in ambient temperature. We discovered that sloths actually eat surprisingly little on a daily basis (73.5 g dry weight of leaves per day)–three times less than the amoun

    t eaten by the similarly-sized howler monkey. Furthermore, we found that the amount of food consumed is remarkably consistent among individuals. Over the course of five months, my three study sloths–Felice, Jewel and Brenda–consumed a total of 61.3%, 60.0% and 61.3% of food provided respectively­–less than a 1.5% difference!

    The study* suggests that the known fluctuation of sloth core body temperature with ambient temperature affects the rate at which gut fauna process digesta, allowing for increased rates of fermentation at higher temperatures. Since Bradypus sloths maintain a constantly full stomach, faster rates of fermentation should enhance digestive throughput, increasing the capacity for higher levels of food intake, thereby allowing increased energy acquisition at higher ambient temperatures. This contrasts with other mammals, which tend to show increased levels of food intake in colder conditions, and points to the importance of temperature in regulating all aspects of energy use in sloths.

    *Cliffe RN, Haupt RJ, Avey-Arroyo JA, Wilson RP. (2015) Sloths like it hot: ambient temperature modulates food intake in the brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) PeerJ 3:e875 https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.875
    Firefighters rescued a male Bradypus and brought him to us. He was in perfect health, but  we noticed something strange: this three-fingered sloth had four perfectly-formed toes on his left foot. While we often see missing digits due to genetic deformities, this was the first time we had ever seen an extra toe!

    We just had to name him Quattro (meaning “four” in Italian). We released him with a tracking backpack within the Sanctuary’s protected reserve. Of all the wild sloths I have worked with, Quattro was the most difficult to find after release. For weeks we searched for him in the jungle, and although his transmitter sent a strong signal, I was unable to locate him, even with his trademark extra toe!
    I’ve been braiding a link of dissolving plastic into my Sloth Backpack harnesses. The plastic weakens in rain and humidity until the backpack eventually drops off and falls to the rainforest floor. Maybe that extra toe gave Quattro a superpower of invisibility, because–despite hours in the jungle every day–I was never able to visually located him again. Maybe we should have named him Houdini! After four weeks of searching, I was relieved to find his discarded backpack on the forest floor, which means he probably established a new territory of his own. ¡Muy buena suerte, Quattro!Becky Cliffe, studying for her PhD from Swansea University (UK), is wrapping up her final year of research at the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. BeckyCliffe.com

     

    Our rainforests are home to millions of species … we must preserve them for future generations.
    When you’re not assisting at the Sanctuary, where do you work?

    In my small animal practice in Puerto Viejo with my veterinary clinic partner, Dr. Estefania Solano, I teach surgery at Universidad Veritas in Coronado, and am involved in spay and neuter programs around the country.

    Why don’t veterinarians spay and neuter sloths?

    Because they are wild animals, we want to preserve them–not turn them in to mascots. If there is ever a chance in the future that our infant rescues can be released into the wild, they will be able to reproduce.

    What is the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about sloths?

    They are unlike most mammals and yet have characteristics of many different species: a digestive system similar to that of cows, a reproductive system similar to that of humans–among other similarities–while their musculature is quite different than any mammal. They are a puzzle to science!

    What part of the Sanctuary do you think is most important for Insider’s Tour guests to see?

    Our NICU Nursery–where the tiny babies are cared for–because it demonstrates how human encroachment is causing a major problem for sloth survival. When you see so many rescued babies in one place, it’s blatantly obvious there are problems in their habitat.

    As a native Costa Rican, what does the concept of Pura Vida mean to you?

    In spite of one’s problems and daily challenges, one must have the right attitude to confront these situations with valor and joy of spirit … Pura Vida!

    What is the one message you would like to tell the world about conserving the rainforest?

    Sloths are one of the few indigenous American species still present, and they have had the capacity to adapt genetically in one form or another for millions and millions of years. And our tropical American rainforests are home to millions of species of native flora and fauna. We must preserve them for future generations.

        Rehabilitate

    A juvenile Choloepus crushed her lower jaw when she accidentally fell from a tree. Luckily, she was rescued and rushed to Dr. Francisco Arroyo, who did a superb job of wiring her jaw together. For three weeks following surgery, despite Mandy’s obvious fear and pain, she bravely accepted being hand-fed liquified leaves. By mid-February, her jaw had almost fully healed. The wires were removed for the final stage of her rehabilitation, allowing her to relearn independence and forage for herself.

     
    We received a sadly familiar phone call about a sloth being attacked by a dog. This adult female Choloepus had severe bite wounds but fortunately no broken bones or neurological injuries. We cleaned and dressed her wounds, then carefully monitored her for signs of stress trauma. We were encouraged to see that the very next day, Willa had an appetite and began eating-the first sign of a sloth feeling better on the road to recovery.Within days, the repeat scenario: Another phone call, an adult female Choloepus attacked by dogs. A frequent and tragic consequence of human encroachment into sloths’ habitat, both sloths were rescued from developed areas with too few trees and too many pet dogs. The one thing we can do is to relocate the sloths away from the hazards of urban/suburban areas.Remarkably Willa’s and Walda’s injuries and recovery timelines were similar, so we decided to release them simultaneously.Each was fitted with a Sloth Backpack Daily Diary Data Logger and VHF for tracking. We released them in a forested area adjacent to the Sanctuary, where we can monitor their progress as they establish their new territories and food trees.

    Earth Day 2015
     

    Our Earth Day 2015 Almond Tree planting initiative has been an overwhelming success, thanks to our very generous donors and the result of our collaboration with American Apparel and illustrator Todd Selby. We’re  celebrating Earth Day Every Day, as Almond Tree donations are welcome year-round.

    Leaves of the Terminalia catappa are a favorite sloth nosh and, in this era of deforestation for development, your donations allow us to give back to Mother Earth by stabilizing the soil, providing shade and filtering the air.
    Muchas gracias to those who donated-your name or your honorees’ names are being carved on the commemorative plaque right now! It will be on display soon at the Sanctuary. For new donations, names will be featured on the Earth Day 2016 plaque.
    Consider donating in memory of a loved one, or to honor a wedding, anniversary or new baby. Make your secure donation by PayPal athttp://www.slothsanctuary.com/donate-to-support-the-sloth-sanctuary/
    Funny footnote: Celebrity that she is, Buttercup was featured on the retail hang-tag for American Apparel’s organic cotton, sweatshop-free T-shirt with Todd Selby’s illustration. The first non-human model for American Apparel, she became the subject of several surprising news stories!
    Join Our Mailing List
     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 12:56 am on June 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: animal sancturay, , Costa Rica, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Animal Sanctuary: Real or Fake? 

    How Can I Tell If An Animal Sanctuary Is Genuine, Or If They Are Taking Advantage Of Animals?!

    There a many people across the world that put the safety and care of endangered animals above themselves. A great animal sanctuary’s first concern is always to the animal, making sure they are happy, healthy, and that they feel safe. The animals there are abused, abandoned, or simply displaced by circumstance. These animals are released into the wild when possible, but a great many don’t have that option. A good sanctuary will bring you to the brink of tears with their dedication and success. However, not every “sanctuary” is what it advertises. Some are glorified breeding houses that exploit the animals and don’t take their health into consideration. It’s tough to tell them apart, but it’s important that you go through a rigorous vetting before contributing or taking part in any sanctuary.

    shutterstock_198426704

    Image courtesy of: shutterstock

    When I was 16 I found out about an exotic sanctuary near me in Wisconsin. It took in abused and abandoned big cats, as well as a few bears, horses, foxes, and various farm animals. Each animal came from a horrific environment. One Sumatran tiger, a breed quickly becoming extinct, had been defanged and declawed by the circus he lived in. Tiger teeth are actually part of the jawbone, meaning his jaw couldn’t close correctly, and he couldn’t eat anything but boneless meat. One of the Jaguars (who lived below the room I stayed in) had been beaten numerous times with a metal pipe by her drug dealer owner, causing brain lesions, and a massive mistrust for males. Far too many of the animals came from other “sanctuaries” that were shut down for animal abuse, as well as some that escaped euthanasia at zoos for being “too old.” Every animal had a similar story, but almost every one turned into a happy, friendly, and affectionate animal. They had large indoor and outdoor enclosures, fresh meat every day, and at no point where they exploited or used as an attraction. A great sanctuary will have happy, playful animals because they provide a safe environment for the animals.

    There are a number of red flags to look for that can easily identify those animal farms that you should stay far away from. Of course, these are not the only signs to look for. If you feel uncomfortable with the sanctuary, walk the other way.


    where did all these animals come from?

    Sanctuary animals can be broken into two categories, rescue animals and commercial animals. Seems obvious right? It’s sadly more complex than that.

    Rescue animals are going to come from circuses, zoos, those saved from hunters or disease, or private homes. None of them are capable of surviving in the wild, so they need a home to live out the rest of their days. Each animal will have a story, most likely not a good one. Pay attention to why the animal is there, and you’ll get a quick understanding of what the sanctuary is trying to accomplish.

    “Commercial” is a broad term, but in essence it’s the best one. These animals are captured specifically for housing in the facility, or they are bred in captivity for the purpose of selling or displaying. Some hide behind the veil of “protecting the species,” but animals born in captivity can’t be released into the wild, so they are simply an attraction, which is exactly what real sanctuaries are trying to protect their wards from.

    image: http://d1vmcse0jge0ha.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/shutterstock_46407289-941×627.jpg

    shutterstock_46407289

    “come on in and play!”

    Are the animals available for photo ops with you? Can you ride around on them? This is a huge distinction, and an immediate way to know if you should run the other way. Being able to SEE the animals is great. Most sanctuaries give tours (the one I worked with limited tours to 5 people maximum), but they are small, and keep the psychological needs of the animals in mind. No animals wants to be smothered by people. Most come from backgrounds that bred mistrust of people, and even a “gentle” animal can turn deadly when scared. There should always be a significant barrier between the animals and the guests, and the animals should always have somewhere they can go to be alone if they become stressed. If you can pay for a photo with them, or you can interact directly with the animal right away, then the facility is certainly not a sanctuary.

    Training should never be tolerated.

    Rescue animals often come from abusive situations. Circuses and private owners often use cruel and violent training methods, leading to long-term physical and psychological harm, often times to the point the animal can never recover. When an animal is rescued, it should have a safe home. It isn’t there to do tricks or to be a showpiece. There is no need to train them! Yet, many commercial facilities have trainers on staff in order to keep their photo op animals in line. Things like bull hooks, electric fences or prods, and chains are all signs of an abusive facility. At no point should the animal be chained or tied up. All of these actions lead to abuse, and are the antithesis of what a sanctuary is trying to accomplish.

    shutterstock_207186985

    Everyone needs to play

    Pay attention to how the animals are housed. No sanctuary will have the endless space that the animals would have in the wild, they should have ample space to run and play. They should have toys, enclosures to sleep and hide, and a way to separate them from the enclosure when it’s time to clean. At no time should an animal be tied up, and their enclosure should be on grass or natural ground, not cement! If the animal can only pace and turn around, then their welfare is being ignored, brazenly so. Imagine what you would need to be happy in that situation, and if you don’t see it, then you know the “sanctuary” is a sham.

    Home sweet home?

    We can’t read an animals mind, but there are a number of behaviors that are obvious signs of distress in the animals. Zoochosis is the unnatural behavior animals exhibit in captivity, and a common occurrence in the commercial shelter community. Acts like pacing constantly back and forth is the most noticeable sign. Their posture tends to be hunched and more predatory when pacing, showing how anxious and bored they really are. Other signs are sitting and rocking, self-mutilation, and chewing or licking the bars of their cage constantly. Each of these is a sure sign the animals is in a terrible situation.


    Read more at http://blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/know-animal-sanctuaries/#yI9biHf1A6PTrMeo.99

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 5:00 pm on September 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Costa Rica, disease free living, , , escuedo island, http://news.msn.com/world/isolated-peruvian-tribe-risks-human-contact-and-disease, rare pigmy sloth, , , swimming pygmy sloth,   

    Sloths hold the secret to disease-free living. 

    Sloth Studies can Reveal New Approaches to Curing Cancer

    Sloths are an environmentally self-contained eco-system and they live disease-free lives. The Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica cares for and nurtures 100’s of these endangered animals each year.  Randy – a wild sloth that broke his arm after fighting with another male and falling 60ft from his tree. He had titanium plates screwed into his arm to hold the bones together, and was later released into the wild. Unfortunately, 8 months later the same incident happened again, only this time his arm was infected and would not heal. We eventually took the difficult decision to amputate his arm in order to save his life. He now lives happily here with us at the sanctuary, albeit with just one arm!Sloth28SLOT-master675 (1)

    Amazingly, before Randy’s first broken arm, he had already formed a special relationship with sanctuary founder Judy Arroyo. He was again fighting with another wild sloth in the sanctuary grounds and again, he fell from his tree. This time, Judy saw it happen and saw that he was about to fall onto concrete – this would have been certain death. She rushed forwards to catch him and the impact broke both of the bones in her arm (also requiring titanium plates) – Randy was perfectly fine after she had broken his fall, and he happily climbed back up the tree.  default….

     View related story:ISOLATED PERUVIAN TRIBE RISKS HUMAN CONTACT, AND DISEASE.default (1)

     ….

     View related story:ISOLATED PERUVIAN TRIBE RISKS HUMAN CONTACT, AND DISEASE.1D3E1495958C94FB3CD473D9FE85AD

    ALTO MADRE DE DIOS RIVER Peru (Reuters) – Six Mashco Piro tribeswomen crouched low as they escaped back into the jungle after raiding a remote lodge in Peru’s Manu National Park in the western Amazon, clutching newly prized tools: metallic cooking pots.

    Sloths are an environmentally self-contained eco-system. (View this phenomenon)Sloth28SLOT-master675 (1)

    View original post

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 12:42 am on July 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Costa Rica, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    BABY SLOTH RESCUED FROM DEATH BY BARBEQUE 

     
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  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 3:04 pm on July 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Costa Rica, , , , , , , , ,   

    Sloths hold the secret to disease-free living. 

    Sloths are an environmentally self-contained eco-system.  Randy – a wild sloth that broke his arm after fighting with another male and falling 60ft from his tree. He had titanium plates screwed into his arm to hold the bones together, and was later released into the wild. Unfortunately, 8 months later the same incident happened again, only this time his arm was infected and would not heal. We eventually took the difficult decision to amputate his arm in order to save his life. He now lives happily here with us at the sanctuary, albeit with just one arm!
    Sloth28SLOT-master675 (1)

    Amazingly, before Randy’s first broken arm, he had already formed a special relationship with sanctuary founder Judy Arroyo. He was again fighting with another wild sloth in the sanctuary grounds and again, he fell from his tree. This time, Judy saw it happen and saw that he was about to fall onto concrete – this would have been certain death. She rushed forwards to catch him and the impact broke both of the bones in her arm (also requiring titanium plates) – Randy was perfectly fine after she had broken his fall,
    and he happily climbed back up the tree….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR57BNpxDtUdefault

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 2:55 pm on July 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Costa Rica, , , , , ,   

    Save the Sloths @ Sloth Sanctuary 

     
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