Meet The Pygmy Three-toed sloth
STATUS: Critically Endangered
STATUS: Critically Endangered
The Pygmy three-toed sloth is one of 4 kinds of three-toed sloths and was only recognized as a distinct species in 2001. However, they are already on the critically endangered list. You might have guessed that they are also the world’s slowest mammal and because of that their fur provides a good habitat for other organisms, such as algae, beetles and moths. They like to nap—A LOT—around 15–20 hours per day.
As EDGE of Existence reports, these creatures like to spend time on their own, and adults only come together to mate, finding each other using loud calls. The mother bears one infant at a time and will care for it between six months or a year, during which time she will carry the young sloth with her everywhere she goes.
Photo by Christian Mehlführer via Wikimedia Commons
Over the last decade 80% of the population has been lost and now their population is down to less than a hundred. if things keep going as they are by 2022, there will be no more of these delightful creatures living that we know of.
Even though these beings technically only live on the uninhabited Isla Escudo de Veraguas, a tiny island off the east coast of mainland Panama, the most common reasons why the pygmy sloth is endangered are human activities, specifically deforestation and poaching. Humans are cutting down the red mangrove trees in which the pygmy three-toed sloth lives in. With the majority of the population living primarily on this tiny island, the cutting down of red mangroves makes it much more challenging for the Sloths to survive.
According to one recent study results suggest that sloth hair is an interesting new source of important bioactive fungi with much scope for exploration of potential new medicinal applications. These early studies found that these compounds found on sloth hair might be effective in treating malaria and breast cancer.
We cannot watch the pygmy three-toed sloths creep closer to extinction.
Unfortunately the number of the pygmy three-toed sloth is still in decline.
EDGE of Existence has shared that field teams currently visit the island where the pygmy sloths live twice a year to monitor their population. The teams work with local communities, hold workshops to promote sustainable resource use, find solutions to mitigate the pressures on the island, and they conduct educational activities with several local schools. Participants continue to show a keen interest and over a thousand children have been included in the environmental education activities. The field team also deploys radio collars on the sloth to help future censuses and monitoring. Everybeing proceeds go to supporting efforts like these.
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