“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”- Margaret Mead

This week we would like to shine the spotlight on one of our most dedicated supporters and followers, Lucy Strausbaugh. Lucy has been bringing small student groups from Notre Dame Preparatory School for volunteer experience since 2013, and over the past few years she has generously donated both funds and her own time to raise awareness of sloth conservation. This week, she arrived at the sanctuary having purchased a brand-new digital microscope and hand carried it  from the US to us here in Costa Rica for use in our Sloth Hospital! This microscope will be a much needed diagnostic tool in our clinic, allowing us to analyze samples, identify parasites and determine the best course of treatment.
We decided to ask Lucy a few questions about her latest donation and the experience of working with us here at the sloth sanctuary:

How did you first get involved with the Sloth Sanctuary?

Lucy: Like everybody else on the planet, I saw that youtube video that went viral in 2011. The sloths simply spoke to my soul and I just had to come and visit.

What was that first experience like for you?

Lucy: Coming to the sanctuary for the first time was simply magical. Transformative and magical.

How did the volunteer experience influence your students?

Lucy: Working with the sloths was life-changing for many of the girls. I have brought students who had planned on being nurses and are now going to work in wildlife research – they changed their majors in college based on the experience that they had at the sanctuary!

Tell us about your latest donation and how you managed it!

Lucy: I contacted a lot of organizations to see if anyone would be interested in donating a microscope to the sanctuary, and although there was a lot of interest initially, nothing turned up. A week before I was due to fly out Costa Rica, I decided that I wasn’t going to let anything stand in the way of the sanctuary getting the equipment that it needs in order to help these amazing animals. It wasn’t an easy decision as I don’t have a lot of money to spare, but as soon as I had made the transaction I simply knew that I had done the right thing.


Sloth research at the Dallas World Aquarium

 Last week, sanctuary founder Judy and biologist Becky travelled to Texas to visit the sanctuary’s sloth ambassadors currently living at the Dallas World Aquarium. DWA has provided an excellent home over the past 9 years for three three-fingered sloths and three two-fingered sloths that were all rescued by the sanctuary as tiny orphans, so young that they were unable to be returned to the wild. They were transferred to the aquarium to act as educational ambassadors, teaching people about sloths and raising awareness of the problems that they are facing.photo4The facility is beautifully designed to replicate their natural habitat, with real trees for the sloths to move around freely, and the temperature and humidity levels being constantly monitored. DWA grows many of the tropical leaves that are known to form part of the sloth’s natural diet, including pseudobombax and chorisia, and they even have cecropia leaves and pods (one of the sloth’s favorite foods) shipped in fresh from Hawaii every 4 days.

Because three-fingered sloths are so notoriously difficult to maintain in captivity outside of their natural home range, we were interested to see how these sloths at the aquarium have adapted to living in a simulated rainforest environment in downtown Dallas. Upon arrival, we were delighted to see just how well all of the sloths were doing: they are robust, strong, active and extremely healthy.

photo1The aim of our research was to monitor the three-fingered sloths activity using Daily Diary data loggers  and compare their behaviours at DWA to what we have observed from those maintained here at the sanctuary in Costa Rica. We equipped two of the sloths, Leno and Jewel, with backpacks, recording every movement they made, 24 hours a day, both on and off exhibit for a week. We will now use this data to see how they have adapted to a life in Dallas!

We would like to say a great big thank you to Daryl, Gerald and the entire staff at the Dallas World Aquarium for their hard work and dedication in looking after the sloths, and for making us feel so welcome during our visit.



Sloth Week 2014

May 31, 2014

Sloth Week 2014!!! We have been very busy at The Sloth Sanctuary again this week, although it is never quiet here! This week we’ve had a couple of a non-sloth guests who have been filming for Sloth Week 2014! That’s right, a whole week dedicated to the amazing sloth. Every day here is a sloth […]

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Earth Day 2014: Sloth Update!

May 29, 2014

Earth Day 2014: Plant a Tree – Feed a Sloth – Clean the Air   To celebrate Earth Day here at the Sloth Sanctuary, we decided to plant 80 sponsored Almond trees within the sanctuary grounds. Over time, these trees will help to reverse the impacts of land degradation, filter the air, reduce erosion, provide […]

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Earth Day 2014 – Plant a Tree & Feed a Sloth!

April 17, 2014

Earth Day 2014: Plant a Tree – Feed a Sloth – Clean the Air On Tuesday 22nd April we will be celebrating Earth Day here at the Sloth Sanctuary and we want YOU to get involved!  Earth Day is an annual event that is celebrated in over 192 countries worldwide, with the aim of promoting environmental awareness […]

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The Sloth Backpack Project

March 5, 2014

02 Mar- By Becky Cliffe It has been a rather un-slothful start to the new year, with a lot of progress being made on the sloth science front. Since Christmas, I have managed to tag an additional four wild sloths with tracking backpacks (including a mother with a baby!), and I am beginning to build […]

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Power Lines Shock Sloth

December 3, 2013

Operation Sloth Rescue It’s never easy when we get a phone call at the sanctuary telling us that a sloth needs our help. On this occasion, we were told that a beautiful two-fingered sloth had been electrocuted on the power lines and was in trouble. The gentleman told us he would collect the sloth and […]

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Houdini of the Sloth World

December 1, 2013

Madonna is the female three-fingered sloth with a baby that I tagged 3 months ago with a GPS tracking backpack. Whilst out in the forest this week searching for her, I began to receive very strange radio signals. Something was wrong. After a few hours of searching and hacking through the dense undergrowth, I stumbled across […]

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Abandoned Sloth Babies

November 4, 2013

One of a kind! When we wake up every morning at the Sloth Sanctuary, we can never predict what the day is going to bring. Friday the 1st of November was certainly no exception. I had just emerged from the jungle after monitoring Madonna when we noticed a MINAET (environmental ministry) vehicle pull into the sanctuary. Our hearts sank. This […]

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Sloth Release!

October 30, 2013

I am delighted to announce that following the success of the Save Our Sloths campaign, we have been able to tag a wild sloth with a GPS tracking backpack for the first time. This exciting little backpack contains a VHF radio transmitter, a Daily Diary data logger and a rechargeable GPS tracker that will record the sloths’ […]

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