Save Our Sloths

Help us to protect these amazing animals...
Rebecca Cliffe
Costa Rica
1 Team Member

If you would like to support the sloths and help us to develop a release program, I am delighted to announce that we can now continue to accept donations and offer perks through this page! 

Every dollar raised will still go towards supporting our sloth research efforts and the development of a release program for hand-reared orphans. The more funds we can collect - the more equipment we can buy - the faster we can achieve this dream! 

We are also currently fundraising because the wild sloth populations need our help. We are finding more deformed baby sloths than ever before, and we want to do something about it. For more information on this project, see

If you would like to keep up to date with how things are progressing, I am writing regular blogs here:

THANK YOU for your continued support!


The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica is the world’s only centre dedicated to the rescue, research and rehabilitation of sloths. We have been rescuing sloths for over 20 years, but in order to continue to safeguard the future of these amazing animals, we desperately need your help. 

My name is Rebecca Cliffe and I am a biologist working at the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. I am currently studying sloths for my PhD, under the supervision of Professor Rory Wilson at Swansea University.



Sloths are one of the least studied mammals. Their survival strategy is camouflage, and as a result we know very little about how they live in the wild. Even the most basic information such as their natural diet and habitat preference still remain a mystery. This lack of knowledge makes the development of conservation strategies difficult.

 Over time, we have learned how to treat injured adult sloths, and to date we have successfully reintroduced over 120 animals back into the wild.

It is much more difficult to release hand-raised sloths. In the wild, a baby sloth lives with its mother for at least 12 months, during which time it learns all the essential skills required to survive in the wild. One of the most important lessons to learn is which leaves are safe to eat. Many other mammals learn what is safe to eat through trial and error – if they feel sick after eating a certain food; they will avoid it in the future. A sloths digestion is very slow making this much more difficult. It can take them up to 30 days to digest a single leaf. If a sloth feeds from the same tree species for too long it risks overdosing on that particular toxin – and unfortunately they won’t realize it until it’s too late. We simply do not know enough about their natural diet in order to teach this to the orphaned babies that arrive here. Much more research is required.

The sanctuary currently provides a permanent home for 149 sloths that cannot be returned to the wild for this reason. Due to the high number of injured and orphaned sloths that are constantly brought to us in need of help, it is becoming essential that we find a way to safely return these animals back into the wild.

Image showing the attachment of a Sloth Backpack data logger

In order to continue with our research and to develop a release program to return these animals to their natural habitat, we need to raise enough funds to buy the necessary tracking equipment. Ideally, we would like to buy GPS collars that can remotely transmit the sloths’ location, allowing us to continuously monitor the animal’s progress following release. We will be able to ensure that the sloth is moving around as it should and most importantly feeding from the right trees. If not, we will be able to pin-point its location using the GPS collar, and come to its rescue.

Your contribution will also allow us to carry out critical research through the Sloth Backpack Project. This will involve tracking and monitoring the daily activity of wild sloths using specially designed ‘Sloth Backpacks’. These consist of a harness with a VHF radio transmitter, GPS locator and a Daily Diary data logger. This technology basically allows us to see exactly what wild sloths are doing, and where they are doing it. Through the use of these devices, we are aiming to gain a better understanding of the sloths daily behaviour patterns including their diet, habitat preference and reproductive habits. Furthermore, we hope to formulate estimates for important factors such as population densities and ranging patterns.

 Image showing a Sloth Backpack

Using this information will provide us with the necessary scientific knowledge to give the hand-reared sloths the best chance of survival when returned to the wild. 



100% of the money raised through this fundraiser will go directly towards supporting sloth research and the development of a release program.

Besides the operational costs of carrying out the project, the primary equipment we are aiming to buy includes:


 Unit price

 Wildcell SL GPS collar (for use on Bradypus sloths) 


 Wildcell SLG GPS collar (for use on Choloepus sloths) 


 GSM Ground Station


 DL4 Link Collar Programming Interface 


 Daily Diary data logger


VHF transmitter 


 VHF receiver and antenna 


 GPS locator 


 GPS locator reader 


 Harness with drop off mechanism



The number of collars and backpacks we will buy depends entirely upon how much money we raise through this fundraiser. 

Pie chart showing the budget estimations for this fundraiser



You can help us to conserve these incredible animals by donating whatever you can – no donation is too small, every dollar is a step closer to reaching our goal.

I passionately believe that your contribution can help to make a huge difference to the conservation of sloths around the world. Together we have the chance to discover more about these amazing animals and help to protect them in the future.

As well as donations, please help us to spread the word and share this page with all of your friends.



If you would like to keep up to date with the project I will report our progress on the Sloth Sanctuary blog.

You can also follow us on Facebook and twitter. 

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Original campaign was 117% funded on July 4, 2013
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