Detailed population census of Critically Endangered pygmy three-toed sloth
May be fewer than 100 left alive
The team's current data suggests that there could be fewer than 100 pygmy sloths left, making them one of the most endangered mammals in the world. The exact reasons for this decline are not yet known, but they found several areas where their critical mangrove habitats have been cut down.
Dr. Craig Turner from ZSL added: "The mangrove forests are relatively hard to penetrate, and from a sloth's perspective they provide protection from aerial predators. We noticed that pygmy sloth mothers carrying young would remain low in trees, which may be an evolutionary hangover for predator evasion. However, hunting, mangrove cutting and tourism are all listed as threats to these sloths and their behaviour may now be putting them at higher risk."
Conservationists from ZSL are currently analysing their data, and aim to publish the findings in the next few months. The team hopes to appoint and train an in-country EDGE fellow later in the year, and they will continue their monitoring and work within the local communities to establish the main threats to the species and develop plans to protect them.