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Critically endangered Sloths are being EATEN by PEOPLE?!? Petitioning the National Environmental Authority of Panama (ANAM) to Protect the Pygmy Sloths!

This petition had 6,483 supporters

 I have long been concerned about the status of the rapidly disappearing three-fingered Pygmy Sloths on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama. This small island is the only place this rare and unstudied species exists in the world and their numbers have been reduced from around 500 in 2001 to only 70 at the last official count in 2012. I was horrified when I recently learned that this valuable species is becoming extinct, not only because of human encroachment and the resultant habitat degradation, but also because LOCAL FISHERMEN who visit the island seasonally and don’t want to eat their profitable catches ARE EATING THE SLOTHS instead!

I am not the only one to feel this horror.  Many groups have attempted to solve this appalling problem over the past few years. The leaders of the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé have worked with NGOs to educate their people about the value of preserving this special species and they have taken this mission to heart. Other local and international charities have donated resources (patrol boats, ranger uniforms, training) to establish a permanent presence of Park Rangers to protect the sloths. But the human complexities of cultures and local politics have made it difficult for these groups to work together, so this program has not yet been implemented and the sloths are still being poached.

Muddying this tragic situation even further is a statement on the IUCN Red-list website saying that the theory of people consuming the sloths was disproven. No evidence is given for this statement and others close to the situation disagree with it. There is nothing else that can explain the drastic reduction in their numbers in less than 12 years.

Since the Park Ranger program is the most immediate way of keeping this species from becoming extinct within the next couple of fishing seasons, I am asking you to join with me in asking the director of The National Environmental Authority of Panama (ANAM) to take a leadership role in coordinating the local and international stakeholders who are invested in saving these sloths. Stakeholders include the Ngäbe-Buglé, local and international environmental NGOs, charities, scientists, researchers and zoo conservationists. ANAM must keep in mind that Escudo Island is part of the Ngäbe-Buglé Comarca (indigenous territory), and it is essential that the Ngäbe play a central role in all decisions that are made and participate in any sloth conservation plans (for an effective model of this kind of community-based conservation I refer ANAM to the amazing and successful work of John Kasaona: ).

The role that we are asking ANAM to play is a delicate one: not to take over and force a resolution to this crisis, but to consult with and gather together all of these stakeholders and work with them towards the common goal of saving this species.

But there does need to be a sense of urgency in training and employing an adequate number of Park Rangers because the next fishing season begins in one month. Some action must be taken before then to keep the few remaining sloths from being poached.  It is my hope that the millions of sloth lovers all over the world will let ANAM know how upset they are about this tragic certainty: that two or three more fishing seasons will be the end of the Pygmy Sloth.

Tell ANAM do everything in their power to provide for the immediate protection of the Pygmy Sloths.

Tell ANAM that since they oversee the protection of the environment in Panama, the existence of this lovely creature rests with them, and its’ extinction will be on their watch.

Tell ANAM that we will not stand by and allow the demise of this precious, beguiling species on our watch.

Today: Lucy is counting on you

Lucy Strausbaugh, M.S., LCPC needs your help with “Mirei Endara Heras: Critically endangered Sloths are being EATEN by PEOPLE?!? Petitioning the National Environmental Authority of Panama (ANAM) to Protect the Pygmy Sloths!”. Join Lucy and 6,482 supporters today.