A sick and malnourished young female sloth was rescued on Friday by national park teams in Arequipa in southern Peru. The animal, taken from her natural habitat, was discovered in a severely weakened state, leading authorities to believe she fell victim to wildlife trafficking.
Veterinarians who examined the sloth said that she was poorly fed and showed signs of mistreatment. “She was very weak, dehydrated, underweight, malnourished, anemic. She had severe hypothermia because she was not in her habitat (jungle),” Luis Felipe Gonzales, manager of the Peruvian National Forest and Wildlife Service, said.
When she was rescued, the sloth’s body temperature was a chilling 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit), well below the norm for her species. To stabilize her health, she was placed in an incubator simulating the warm, humid climate of the jungle.
“We have managed to stabilize her (body) temperature and are working to stabilize her hydration. For now, she is on assisted feeding; we hope she will continue to evolve in the next few days,” Gonzales said on Monday.
She is expected to remain in treatment and rehabilitation for 15 to 30 days. If all goes well, authorities plan to release the sloth back into the jungle in Peru next month.