By Shannon Lane @shannonroselane

TRAVELLING TO Costa Rica every year to photograph baby sloths, many would say that Lucy Cooke has a dream job

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Videographer / director: Lucy Cooke
Producer: Shannon Lane, James Thorne
Editor: James Thorne

Founder of The Sloth Appreciation Society, Lucy travelled to the Toucan Rescue Ranch and KSTR (Kids Saving The Rainforest) sanctuaries once again this year to take photographs for her 2018 calendar.

The rescued sloths are all orphans who were either brought to the sanctuary with injuries or found alone on the ground.

Their mothers were nowhere to be found, killed by dogs, electric pylons or hit by cars.

The rehabilitation programme run by The Sloth Institute is a pioneering scheme, actively releasing sloths back into the wild where they belong.

The institute has had a huge success over the past two years, having re-released both Choloepus (two fingered) and Bradypus (three fingered) sloths, and Lucy’s 2017 calendar was a best-seller.

To begin her annual adventure, Lucy met up with Sam Trull, director of The Sloth Institute. They began looking for radio-collared three fingered sloths, especially one in particular - Jon Snow.

This was no easy task, considering how adapted sloths are for camouflage. Their fur contains algae and insects, turning it green - and they are also motionless most of the time.

Lucy has many tricks to get the perfect sloth portrait, one being a special whistle.

She said: “The trick is to make this whistle in D sharp, because that’s the sound of a mating sloth.”

Part of the rehabilitation of the orphaned sloths is teaching them to climb.

The young sloths are placed in hammocks, as they move in a similar way to branches. However many of the lazy babies prefer to have a snooze in them.

The rise in popularity of sloths, both with Lucy and the institute’s help, has meant more research is being done into sloths, with a greater focus on rescuing them.


Now with this year’s portraits completed, the sloths can all go back to sleep.

Lucy said: “I’ve seen about half a dozen sleeping sloths today, John Snow woke up for about five minutes to show me his handsome face, just long enough for me to get a good photo.

“So I’m very happy.”

International Sloth Day 2017 is Friday 20th October. For more information see the Sloth Appreciation Society (www.slothville.com), and The Sloth Institute (www.theslothinstitutecostarica.org).