A sloth called Cliff
Kenneth started calling me at the end of December 2018 about a two-fingered sloth that was of concern to him. The animal had been around his family’s house in the trees, but sometimes also in the ceiling of the house. He said he thought it had been around for at least 12 months. He and his family were not so much scared of the animal, but they were worried that one of the neighbours was going to shoot it.
I told him the animal probably liked staying there, and he should not worry, it would find a way to a better patch. He called again at the beginning of February, but we were over at the center and we would not be able to get to him before dark, and our volunteer vet who is living in his area, was just boarding a plane. So again, no assistance to help this animal. However, Kenneth did not give up, he really wanted this animal to be relocated to a place where there would be no immediate threat to it.
So this time when Kenneth called, I finally was able to get there before dark, as I was in town and I just had to get our equipment. As my telephone was giving me trouble, I did not look at the pictures he sent. So when we finally arrived at 6:30 PM, this is what we saw. A sloth hanging onto a pillar that was standing in the water. How did it get there? It was clear that if it had swum there, it had now dried up, because it was definitely not wet. However, it did not look comfortable. Our first attempt to approach it, got our volunteer George stuck almost knee deep in the soft mud at the water’s edge that was hiding under a layer of sand. A boat seemed to be our only solution to help this animal from this uncomfortable location.
Kenneth’s father said he had a long pole that we could offer to the animal so it could climb on it and come back to shore. And indeed, the animal sniffed the pole, because it was metal, and it of course did not feel like a tree branch, but in the end it decided to try it and came climbing along the pole to shore. When it was close enough George caught it in our net. It was definitely not happy about this. We tried to remove the net, but it was stuck in the net that had a hole. So we decided to cut the net loose from the pole. We managed to get the animal into the kennel and we spent two days to carefully remove the net from the animal. On Saturday the animal was released and it definitely was happy to be climbing in trees again far from humans.