Searching for sloths in the Atlantic Forest

 
Brown-throated Sloth

In his second blogpost about Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu (REGUA) in Brazil, former World Land Trust (WLT) staff member Scott Guiver recounts his quest for the Brown-throated Sloth. 

Driven by my desire to find and photograph a sloth, I took a route alongside the wetlands leading to one of the forest trails. But, as much as I tried to hurry, the wetlands proved to be full of distractions that couldn’t be overlooked: stunning Blue Dacnis fed on fruit trees as ridiculously bright-coloured Saffron Finches foraged on the ground below; a cloud of Cattle Egrets floated over their reflection in the water; and on the island a beached gang of Capybara kept a wary eye on a sunbathing Broad-snouted Caiman.

Masked Water Tyrants darted after insects at the water’s edge, a large Squirrel Cuckoo made me jump as it crashed out from a bush on my left, Jacanas and Gallinules tiptoed across lily pads, and three species of heron stood like statues in the shallows as a Green Kingfisher whizzed past. Unseen but certainly heard, a raucous soundtrack of Kiskadee, Red-rumped Cacique and mechanical sounding White-bearded Manakin filled the air. All the while, three species of Vulture and Southern-crested Caracaras patrolled the skies silently above.

I remember shaking my head as I tried to comprehend the sheer amount of life, how different it must have been before the wetlands and forest were restored. What was once a piece of farmland was now an oasis of life.

I had been told that no one had seen a sloth for a few days, and this made the challenge even more exciting; plus, I was now armed with the valuable nugget of information that sloths love Cecropia trees. The light dimmed as I headed from the open wetlands into the trees. From the darker reaches of the forest floor I trod lightly, my eyes scanning for snakes on the ground and up into the tops of Cecropia trees, hopeful for a sighting of the most delightful of stagnant furballs.

I stopped. A familiar instinct told me I wasn’t alone, something I’ve felt often enough to have learned to trust. I looked up and focused on a beautiful red Cecropia leaf set against the blue sky above. Slowly, I noticed two faces in the leaves that had gradually turned to look at me. A mother sloth with her contented looking youngster clinging to her underside. My emotions suitably stirred, I sat on the ground and watched them going unhurriedly about their business.

REGUA logo

More information

Scott volunteered as a Bird Guide at REGUA for a month, and in his first blogpost last week described his first impression of the Atlantic Forest and Wetland conservation project. WLT has supported various land purchases to extend REGUA through special appeals and the Action Fund in the past, and currently supports reforestation and long-term protection in the reserve through the Plant a Tree and Keepers of the Wild programmes.

Follow WLT on Facebook and Twitter or sign up to the monthly eBulletin so you don’t miss Scott’s next blog about REGUA’s living classroom»

 

COMMENTS

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Our Appeals

Ancient Forests

Mexico's ancient forests, a wild home to big cats and tiny hummingbirds, are being destroyed. You can help us purchase this habitat for conservation by donat...

  • 100%
  • Of Target Achieved
  •    

Amazonian Andes

We did it! Thanks to an incredible show of support to protect one of the richest habitats on Earth, we will be able to save 400 acres of tropical forest in the ...

  • 100%
  • Of Target Achieved
  •