Kids Saving the RainforestLexi Baca

Kids Saving the Rainforest – December 2016

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Happy Holidays to all!

By Lexi Baca, age 12, KSTR spokeskid

Mr. Sloth got stuck in our neighbor's yard
Mr. Sloth got stuck in our neighbor’s yard

Why did the sloth cross the road? Because there were no tree branches or monkey bridges! Hi, it’s Lexi again, Kids Saving the Rainforest spokeskid. As a KSTR volunteer, I get to learn about certain things that KSTR does to help the welfare of their animals, or just animals in Costa Rica in general. There are a lot of things they’ve done to try and make sure that the animals who live here are safe, and this month I’m going to talk about the monkey bridges along with a personal story of a sloth who could have used one.

KSTR created the monkey bridges so that monkeys, and other animals who were crossing streets over the electrical wires, may cross safely. They’ve saved so many animals with this invention, and have done tests to make sure that the monkeys were using them. It has really benefited the monkey population, as several years ago there were only 1200-1500 Titi monkeys in the area, and today there are over 3,000. KSTR works hard with the local electric company to ensure monkey bridges are maintained, as well as identifies where new ones are needed.

He made it out and to their front door.
He made it out and to their front door.

Sloths and other animals also use these bridges, so it’s not just helping the monkeys, but the wildlife in general. I live in the middle of a farm, where there are only four other houses, so monkey bridges aren’t really needed. However, last week, one sloth could have used one! My family and I were getting ready to go out on Saturday morning when we spotted a sloth inside our neighbor’s fence. He was climbing the fence and tried many trees to get out, but finally crawled under the fence and ended up at their front door. We of course all thought this was adorable, but as KSTR volunteers, we also know he was working hard and that we shouldn’t get too close to wildlife. So, we snapped some pictures from a distance.

We were loaded in the car ready to go, thinking he was fine because there are a lot of trees right next to where he was. That’s when he decided to cross the road…we’re still not quite sure why but I’m sure he had his reasons. Again, this is a very quiet area, but there is a rental house at the end of the road so there are continuous maintenance workers, staff, and tourists driving up and down the road who might not be paying attention. There are also a lot of people walking dogs up and down the road without leashes. So, we waited…and waited…to make sure he got across the road.

After crossing the road and finding the right tree...yay!
After crossing the road and finding the right tree…yay!

All was well again, he was across, but what does he do? He starts climbing not a tree, but an electrical transformer on the other side! At this point, my mom turns to me and says, “Ok, KSTR spokeskid, what do we do?” I of course say, “Call KSTR!” She says, “That’s what I’m doing, I’m asking you!” As many times as I’ve been at the sanctuary, as much as I’ve learned about sloths and other wildlife, I still wasn’t sure I could personally handle an emergency situation. So, we had KSTR ready to call if something happened, and we got a broom and a towel in case we needed to try to divert him quickly (a broom and a towel, really, that’s all we could come up with?!). Fortunately, he grabbed at a tree branch before getting high enough to be close to the live wires, and moved along into the trees.

We were very late for our Saturday morning event, but it was worth it to see this story through to a happy ending. I encourage people to educate themselves about what to do in wildlife emergencies since these creatures are so vulnerable and can be in trouble in an instant. Never touch them unless they are in real danger, and always call an expert in to help.

This Holiday month, I’m thankful the sloth crossed the road and that KSTR is in the area to help if he’d run into trouble. I’m also so glad to be part of this organization, as it is doing so many good things for our beautiful Costa Rica. I am thankful for the gift of being able to participate and help in any way I can, and hope to find new ways to help in the future.

Thank you for reading!