Volunteers from Jaguar Rescue Center in Costa Rica played recordings of displaced baby's cries over handheld speaker to locate brown-throated three-toed sloth mother. The infant was returned to its mother in a moving video. Via: National Geographic
Tourists had found the baby sloth lying on the Costa Rican beach ,covered in sand and ants, and brought it to the Jaguar Rescue center
A vet check revealed the brown-throated three-toed sloth, the weight of a can of soup, was in a few weeks old and in good condition. But the youngster would not have survived the night alone on the beach.
A visual search for the mother proved fruitless so the rescuers decided to use an innovative technique
Knowing that sloth moms recognize their babies' cries, the center's founder and resident biologist Encar Garcia recorded the orphan's vocalizations on her smartphone, transferred the files to a portable speaker, and sent a team back into the wild the next day. Volunteers from the nonprofit Jaguar Rescue Center had hiked Playa Cocles for hours, broadcasting the sounds in hopes of enticing the infant's mother to reclaim her little one. In the following video, you can hear what a baby sloth sounds like.
Around 5 p.m., the volunteers noticed a curious adult sloth descending a tree.
"The volunteers were very excited and said, 'We got one that's climbing down, and looking around like crazy,'" says Garcia, who wrapped the baby in a towel and raced to the scene with veterinarian Fernando Alegre.He lifted the animal up to the waiting sloth, which immediately accepted the baby. The two then shared a nuzzling embrace that brought the rescuers to tears, Garcia told National Geographic.
The broadcasting sloth baby cries is a tried-and-true technique that has worked before
"One time I had the baby for eight days," she says. "Eventually we were able to find the mother." In 2017, her rescue center took in 150 orphaned or injured sloths; so far in 2018, there's been at least a hundred. Raising a baby three-toed sloth is a special challenge, in part because the leaves they like to eat are difficult to get.
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