​International Sloth Day 2016 - 2 Species Already Endangered!

​International Sloth Day 2016 - 2 Species Already Endangered!

Posted by Connor Whelan on 20th Oct 2016

The sloth is often used as an example of slowness or laziness, but this animal is still close to the hearts of many. This affection can be attributed to the sloth’s appearance, considered by many to be particularly cute and cuddly. However the sloth faces many challenges in its natural habitat. International Sloth Day was created to raise awareness of these problems, and to promote the sloth.

International Sloth Day was the brainchild of Aiunau, an organisation based in Columbia that promotes the welfare of animals. Aiunau has been working to promote the welfare of the sloth since the mid-1990s, and it started International Sloth Day in 2010. Their work involves rescuing sloths and nursing them back to health before returning them to the wild.

The day also serves to highlight issues affecting the sloth around the world. The World Wildlife Fund, for example, is working on a number of initiatives to protect the rain forest in Brazil, as habitat loss poses a considerable risk to the sloth and many other animals.

Sloth Population Today

Two types of sloth are on the endangered list. The pygmy sloth, which lives on a small island off the coast of Panama, is regarded as being critically endangered. The maned sloth, from Brazil, is considered vulnerable.

Threats Sloths Face

The main risk that sloths face today is habitat loss. They mostly live in rain forests, so deforestation has a devastating effect. It leads to disease and the loss of food, and puts the lives of sloths at risk.

There are other risks that sloths face too, however, all of them caused by people. They include inadvertent risks, like sloths getting electrocuted on power lines. This happens because sloths often mistake power lines for tree vines. This is particularly dangerous when the power lines are not insulated.

People failing to keep their pet dogs under control is also an issue, as these animals kill many sloths every year. Sloths are also often knocked down and injured or killed by cars and trucks on the road.

As sloths have become increasingly popular, including in popular culture, another issue has started to have an effect. This is the strange desire of people to keep sloths as pets. Many are captured for this purpose, and there is an underground market where they can be bought and sold. They are often mistreated or neglected, and most do not have the same quality of life that they would if they lived in the wild.

What Needs Done

Sloths need help in two main ways. The first is education, so that people have a greater understanding and appreciation of the animal, along with better knowledge of how our actions can have a negative impact on the sloth. Changing attitudes and making people appreciate sloths is important to their future.

Money is also required, which is why International Sloth Day is such an important event. The work that Aiunau and others do is expensive. Money helps them care for sloths, promote their welfare, and protect them for the future – so the more that can be raised the better.

Sloth in tree

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