Record-breaking bridges for sloths

Record-breaking bridges for sloths!

Thanks to the generous support of our donors we have managed to install THREE new Sloth Crossing canopy bridges in the South Caribbean region of Costa Rica this month! These artificial wildlife bridges are essential to help sloths and other wildlife move safely between trees in urban areas. Without the bridges sloths are forced to travel on the electricity lines or on the ground, and here they frequently fall victim to electrocutions, dog attacks, car collisions and human exploitation.

 

The Biggest Bridge Ever

One of the new ‘Sloth Crossings’ installed this month broke all previous records. Installing this monstrosity took a full day of hard work, but the results were worth it. This area is an important route of passage for sloths and howler monkeys, however the forest has been recently disturbed and the animals are now struggling to cross the gaps between the trees. Just last week a troop of monkeys passed through this property and an observer noticed that the younger monkeys couldn’t jump far enough to make it across to the next tree. With dogs roaming around on the ground below, the juveniles had no choice but to wait behind while the adult monkeys moved on to feed.

 

Impassable gaps between trees, with dogs lurking on the ground below.

We knew we had to do something to help. To begin, we planted 20 fast-growing ‘guarumo’ trees underneath the canopy gaps. These trees are a favourite food source for both sloths and monkeys, and they will grow to be full height within about 5 years.Next we planted 30 more slow-growing tree species that are critical for a healthy rainforest. These saplings won’t reach full height for about 40 years, but we must plant the seeds now to ensure a healthy future.

 

planting sloth sangrillo tree
Planting ‘sangrillo’ trees – a favourite food for wild sloths and monkeys!

While planting trees is a vital step, it will not fix the canopy gap problem immediately and so we needed to install an artificial wildlife bridge to connect the trees on either side. Unfortunately the overall gap between forest fragments was ginormous, with only a few sparse trees dotted around the middle with zero connectivity between them. The resultant bridge was spectacular – it ended up being over 53 meters in length, linking together 6 different trees across 3 different properties and bypassing 1 set of power lines. We have installed camera traps to monitor which animals use the bridge and so hopefully we can share some interesting footage with you soon.

 

This photo is taken from one end of the bridge – you can see the blue rope looping through the next tree and away into the distance!
Installing the bridge took many hours, many sling-shot attempts and a very long rope!

Sponsor a sloth crossing canopy bridge

Each “sloth crossing” bridge costs $150 in raw materials to construct (in the most basic form: a single rope design without a camera trap). If you would like to help us to build more bridges you can do so here – don’t forget to select “sloth crossing” as your preference in the drop down menu! We also offer the option to Sponsor a Sloth Crossing (a fantastic gift idea for a sloth lover). If you choose this option then we will install a bridge with a personalised plaque that we will engrave with a name of your choice!