What do sloths and yoga have in common? Absolutely nothing. But tourist attractions in Florida are forcing the two together at the expense of rescued sloths.For an absurd $40 per person
, Alligator Attraction is selling tickets for sloth yoga. During the class, which requires no prior knowledge of yoga or wildlife, participants and an instructor move through yoga poses while a rescued sloth is stuck in the corner for their viewing pleasure.
Another tourist attraction -- Wild Florida -- offers sloth yoga, in addition to "VIP Sloth Encounters" for more than $200.
At both places, participants are encouraged to touch the sloths, feed them, and get close enough to shove phones in their faces and take "slothies" (sloth selfies). Sign the petition urging Alligator Attraction and Wild Florida to stop exploiting sloths!
Sid and Sylvia, the two unlucky sloths at Alligator Attraction, are rescued animals in need of care and kindness. They are Hoffman's two-toed sloths, solitary and predominantly nocturnal creatures - two traits being wholly ignored by sloth yoga.
Public perception of sloths has become dangerously flippant and objectifying in the past decade. Viral moments like Kristen Bell's tearful, obsessive breakdown over meeting a sloth or videos of sloths "smiling" and "waving" at people who help them across roads have reinforced the misconception that sloths do well with human contact. On the contrary, studies have shown that "sloths experienced abnormal blood pressure reactions" when humans came near.
The websites of these tourist attractions boast that the sloths are "cute and cuddly." These are wild animals that should be understood from a distance, protected, and certainly not cuddled.
By hosting these absurd events, these tourist attractions are furthering the dangerous notion that sloths exist for human entertainment.
The number of sloths kept as private pets, sold on the black market, or kept in zoos is on the rise. Alligator Attraction and Wild Florida are feeding this phenomenon, instead of focusing on keeping wildlife safe and the public educated. Sign the petition and demand that they hold NO MORE sloth yoga events!