Venezuelan family rescues injured or abandoned sloths to send them back to the jungle (PHOTOS)
A Venezuelan couple from San Antonio de los Altos, on the outskirts of Caracas, have created a foundation dedicated to rescuing sloths and rehabilitating them and then returning them to the jungle.
The project was organized by Haydee and Juan Carlos Rodríguez, who work in design and media respectively. However, in a conversation with AFP, they admit that they spend most of their time caring for the animals.
The couple claim that sloths living in wooded areas near the capital are exposed to three types of danger: dog attacks, road accidents and electric cables.
The latter was the case of Chuwie, the first specimen saved by the Rodríguez family and named after the foundation created by them. The animal was electrocuted after hanging on to a cable.
“We went out to shop. There were people with him. He looked dead. He moved just as we were leaving. We grabbed it and gave it to the vet, ”recalls Juan Carlos.
And add that the accident cost the animal the phalanx of its left arm, leaving it without its claws, in addition to causing severe burns to both hind legs.
The family decided to adopt him and created an Instagram bill to spread his story, where Chuwie already has nearly 10,000 subscribers.
“People are moved by Chuwie. He’s a survivor, but unfortunately we can never free him“Juan Carlos laments when he talks about the animal’s level of disability.
Since then, they have already saved a total of 59 lazy. Currently, six of these animals live in his house. Some of them were injured by dogs or electrocuted, while others were abandoned by their mothers.
And to learn how to take care of it, Haydee and Juan Carlos have the help of environmental specialists in Costa Rica. These treatments include daily outings to recover several kilos of fresh leaves from specific trees —Among them the ‘Vallea stipularis’, the yagrumo and the rubber tree— which are part of their diet.
Although there is no official count of the sloth population in Venezuela, experts warn that this animal loses its habitat following the deforestation of the region. This situation has already placed the lazy dwarf in Danger of extinction, while the lazy Bradypus is currently a vulnerable species.
To prevent the problem from worsening further, the Rodríguez family seeks to raise awareness that the domestication of these wild animals is harming them.
“They are not pets, pets or stuffed animals. Las perezas [nombre que reciben los perezosos en Venezuela] they have the curse of the eternal smile. In agony, they seem to smile, ”sums up Juan Carlos.
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