Sloths are usually seen as unique creatures, especially the recently discovered pygmy three-toed sloth. Living in one distinct area, it’s now labeled “critically endangered”.
Recognized as a species in 2001, the pygmy three-toed sloth lives only on Isla Escudo de Veraguas in Panama. Panama is in Central America, between Mexico and South America.
The pygmy three-toed sloth has gray-brown fur, a tan face, a dark band across its forehead, and long hair that hangs over its face. This sloth eats a variety of leaves in the red mangrove forests of the island.
There are multiple reasons why the pygmy three-toed sloth is endangered. Tourism degrades its habitat as well as logging, but the main reason is hunting by fishermen, farmers, lobster divers, and natives. However, since the fur of a pygmy three-toed sloth is almost always covered in algae, it can easily camouflage itself in the trees.
In 2013, it was estimated that there were only about 79 pygmy three-toed sloths. This number has decreased since then. While Isla Escudo de Veraguas is protected as a wildlife refuge, law enforcement needs to be improved to increase the pygmy three-toed sloth population.
Animal Welfare Institute