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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Costa Rica and International Sloth Day

Yes, it’s that time of year again when we take a day to appreciate — perhaps worship — the hairy, slow-moving, adorable creatures that are Costa Rica’s virtual mascots. It’s International Sloth Day! What, you say? You didn’t know?

The Colombia-based conservation group Fundación AIUNAU created International Sloth Day in 2010 as a way to bring attention to the jungle-loving mammals and promote preservation of their habitat. (AIUNAU calls it “Sloth International Day” on their website but we’re pretty sure it’s a translation slip.)

Since 2010, the exact calendar day upon which we celebrate the sloths has varied, and conservation groups consulted in Costa Rica weren’t sure whether this year’s celebration falls on Oct. 17 or 18.

We at The Tico Times looked at it from a sloth’s point of view and thought, “Does it really matter?” No! The important thing is to pick a day and fill the Internet with sloths, sloth facts and sloth photos. So today, we’ll be doing just that, starting with a look back at our sloth coverage from over the years:

(Courtesy of Rebecca Cliffe)
(Courtesy of Rebecca Cliffe)

Sloths in Costa Rica with backpacks

It’s hard to imagine but sloths have not always been loved by humankind. Eighteenth century French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc called sloths “the lowest form of existence.” Because of such historical disdain, biologists today actually know very little about sloths.

But a researcher at Costa Rica’s Sloth Sanctuary is trying to change that by strapping backpacks equipped with a GPS, an accelerometer and a compass to track the sloth’s daily activities.

Once the data from the GPS is downloaded, a supercomputer assembles a 3-D image of the sloth in Google Maps, which shows exactly what the sloth was doing at any given moment.

Read the full story here.

(Courtesy of Sam Trull)
(Courtesy of Sam Trull)

C-section sloth baby

Last October, a vet in Herradura performed what may have been the world’s first cesarean section on a sloth. The pregnant momma sloth had fallen out of a tree on hotel grounds in Manuel Antonio and was still seriously injured when contractions started. A wildlife worker took the sloth to a vet, who determined that the baby was breached. He decided the only chance for saving mom and baby was a C-section.

Read the full story here.

PHOTOS: Every Costa Rica sloth image you will ever need to see

Sloths are cute, if you don’t look too close

A sloth on a tree, a moth on a sloth, sloth poop on the moth, algae on the sloth poop. Enough said.

Read the full story here.

San Ramón’s giant sloth

Modern-day sloths are pipsqueaks compared to their Pleistocene Era ancestors. The Museum of San Ramón has a replica of one of the giants — based on bones found in the area.

Giant sloths and their contemporaries roamed large swaths of South and Central America, and the specimen on display, at just 9 feet tall, is a shrimp. After all, it had to fit in the room. Giant ground sloths often grew up to 15 feet tall.

Now how cute are they?

Read the full story here.

Photo by Gerard Richardson
Photo by Gerard Richardson

American Apparel Sloth

Buttercup the sloth, who lives at the Sloth Sactuary in Limón province, became a superstar earlier this year when American Apparel decided to put her likeness on a T-shirt. Given the company’s mixed reputation, some were concerned about how it would turn out. Gerald Richards, a volunteer consultant for the Sloth Sanctuary, said there was some talk about dressing Buttercup in a bikini.

Whether the idea was serious or not, Richardson put the kibosh on it.

“It’s really in good taste,” Richardson said of the final design. “I was very happy with it. And it’s about this wonderful place in Costa Rica.”

Plus, 30 percent of proceeds from the T-shirt sales goes to the Sloth Sanctuary.

Read the full story here.

Costa Rica Sloth videos

Want to hear what a baby sloth sounds like? You can do that here. (Cuteness alert!)

Can sloths swim? Find out here.

See also: 11 little-known sloth facts

Happy Sloth Day!

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