The Sloth Institute

Reforestation and Tree Nursery

Marijke Buijs, Veterinary technician from the Sloth Institute

Did you know that sloths and many other animals use the canopy tops of trees to move around? Sloths eat a large number of different tree species but select a territory where they can find their favorite trees and rely on each tree within that home range to keep them healthy and well fed. Recently weaned sloths have the smallest home ranges because after weaning, the mother leaves the “weanling” in a small area with food rich trees while they continue to fatten up and learn how to best navigate the rest of the jungle. If a weanling loses one single tree in their home range during this life stage, they can starve to death.

Due to deforestation, sloths and other species are losing their food! In addition, the fewer the trees, the more likely they have to travel on the ground instead of in the canopy which is when they become victims of dog attacks and traffic accidents. In a dwindling forest, they become desperate to get to their much needed resources and will also use electric wires to get through canopy gaps and that’s when they become victims to electrocution. Unfortunately, some sloths never find enough food and we are seeing more and more sloths needing rescue because they’ve become emaciated from not being able to reach the trees that they need to survive.

How can you help?

Preserve trees in your garden/property so that sloths (and other wild animals) can travel safely.

Limit tree trimming. Excessive tree trimming can often be just as devastating to sloth health and welfare as removing the tree entirely.
If a tree needs to be cut down or falls down, plant a new one in its place. We can help you with this!
Together with a partner, we’ve started a tree nursery, where we aim to grow thousands of new trees to help reforest much needed wildlife habitat. So far, we already have 895 trees growing in our nursery! Our goal is to have 500 trees per tree species, and we will have at least 10 different species of trees that sloths and other species like to eat.

Our motto is: Save a sloth, Save a tree, Save a forest. To live up to our motto, we will be giving away our nursery trees for free. Do you have a property where trees are needed or do you need advice? Contact us via email: [email protected].