Friday, November 5, 2010

Life in the slow lane: Hundreds of orphaned sloths given a new lease of life at Costa Rican sanctuary


Peckish: One of 100 sloths being given a second chance at a Costa Rican wildlife sanctuary

Tucking into a tasty carrot snack, this bright-eyed baby sloth is making a happy recovery after being orphaned just days into its young life.

The adorable creature is just one of 100 being cared for by volunteers at the Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, Central America.

Some are barely the size of a human hand and wouldn't have stood a chance if left alone in the wild.

But they have been given a new lease of life thanks to the centre which was set up by married couple Luis Arroyo and Judy Avey-Arroyo after an orphaned sloth was brought to their door by neighbours 18 years ago.

Since then the couple have been inundated with other sloths in need of care and attention.

Ranging from a few days to more than ten years old, the animals are hand-reared by a team of volunteers.

Over the years the centre has proved quite a draw with tourists who visit the centre to catch a glimpse of the rarely-seen creatures.

Photographer Roland Seitre, 52, took these heartwarming pictures while visiting with his family.

Breakfast time: The baby sloths are given their first meal of the day

Hanging out: The orphan sloths take regular exercise at the sanctuary

Weight-watchers: The sloths require regular monitoring to check their growth rates

Mr Seitre, who lives in France, said: 'The sloths are very cute animals and they seem very quiet and docile but they can be fast when they want to be.

'They're not stupid. With claws larger than a jaguar's they can be dangerous if they're threatened.

'At the centre they don't seem to be too bothered by people, some will interact with the visitors.'

Sloths, found in the rainforests of Central and South America, usually grow to just under two feet long and can live up to 40 years.

The animal is best known for its slow movement but, if under threat from a predator, it can travel up to 13ft in a minute.

Its large claws allow the sloth to live in tree tops, many eat, sleep and give birth while hanging from branches.

Despite its lazy reputation, the animal is thought to only spend around ten hours sleeping each day.

Eat your greens: A young Hoffmann's two-toed sloth enjoying his vegetables. The creatures have proved a draw with tourists

Docile: The sloths' calm environment means many of them interact regularly with visitors to the sanctuary

Heading up: Sloths spend much of their lives in the treetops

source :dailymail

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