Conservationists were doing field work in Costa Rica when they heard a “faint cry” coming from the trees.
Then they found a three-fingered newborn sloth crying after it had been separated from its mother in Puerto Viejo, a spokesperson for the Sloth Conservation Foundation, Cecilia Pamich, told McClatchy News in an interview.
The “freezing cold” baby was found with its umbilical cord still attached, according to an Oct. 5 TikTok posted by the conservation foundation.
After the staff members had the baby in their possession, they moved on to their next task: finding the mama.
“We looked to the top of the trees for the mother. We know the baby is going to cry for the mother,” Pamich said. “We couldn’t find the mother in all the thick canopy of the trees.”
The TikTok, which has garnered over 3.4 million views as of Oct. 6., shows a staff member named Dayber Barker Leon handling the newborn that was found with what the group believes is a cataract in one eye.
“Dayber is one of our professional climbers and professional animal handlers,” Pamich said. “Sloths have to be handled by professionals like him.”
She said the Sloth Conservation Foundation, an organization with the goal of conserving wildlife and monitoring animals like sloths, sent the baby to professionals at a rescue center.
Although the conservation foundation believes the newborn is a female, Pamich said “they won’t know for sure until a few years from now as males will develop a patch of bright orange fur in the back from a gland that will produce an orange oil.”
The newborn is being carefully tended to as baby sloths are “extremely difficult” to take care of, especially those that should still be on their mother’s milk, Pamich said.
She said the baby is being fed goat milk as “sloth milk is hard to come by.” Then it will start on a diet based on leaves.
Three-fingered sloths live in forests in Central and South America, and their arms are “twice as long as their legs,” according to the foundation. Females give birth after carrying their babies six months to a year, and then they stay close to their mothers for about a year after.
“Our main goal is to always reunite the baby with its mother, if it’s possible. So far we haven’t had any luck in finding her but the story isn’t over,” Pamich said.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
@slothconservation Donate at slothconservation. org **Video of a sloth rescue – always remember that sloths are wild animals and should only be handled by professionals for conservation and research purposes** While we are not a wildlife rescue organisation, sometimes we have to intervene in emergency situations. We were conducting field work earlier this week after a night of heavy storms when we heard the faint cry of a baby three-fingered sloth. It was hard to find her at first because her cry was so quiet and she had crawled into an impenetrable bush, but eventually we were able to pull her to safety. We were shocked to see that she was only a few hours old with the umbilical cord still attached. She was also freezing cold, soaking wet, and had a problem with one of her eyes. This little one was cared for at a local rescue center while we tried to find a way to reunite her with her mom who was up in the trees above 💚 . #viral #fyp #costarica #viralvideo #viralpost #rescue #caribbean #UrbanSlothProject #conservation #cute #adorable ♬ Little Things – Adrian Berenguer