Saving the Sloth Sanctuary

Saving the Sloth Sanctuary

Judy Avey-Arroyo is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Judy Ann Avey.

Hello dear Friends of Buttercup and the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica,

I am Judy, ‘sloth-mom’ to the hundreds of orphaned and injured sloths that have arrived to the Sloth Sanctuary over the past 28 years. I am asking for your help today because, for the first time, I am genuinely scared for the future of the Sloth Sanctuary. 

Buttercup, the world-famous Bradypus (three-fingered) sloth, was our first rescue in 1992, and she introduced us all to the Wonderful World of the Sloth! 28 years ago, no one knew anything about sloths, and they certainly didn't enjoy the global popularity that they have today. Buttercup arrived as a tiny, fragile, precious baby and we were so afraid to make a mistake. We didn't have access to the internet like people do now, and so by holding my breath, watching wild sloths and using tons of common sense, Buttercup survived and thrived.


My husband and I didn't know it at the time, but that was the first time a baby three-fingered sloth had ever been successfully raised by humans. Learning hands-on about the very special needs of these incredibly unique animals, word got around that we kind of knew what we were doing - and so more sloths started to arrive! They would be brought to us from all over Costa Rica by concerned citizens and government officials. We quickly became the first, and are now the only, specialized rescue center solely for the two species of sloths in Costa Rica. Since Buttercup arrived all those years ago, we have now rescued over 950 sloths and this number continues to increase every single week. 

We have learned so much about sloths over the years, and much of what is known today about sloth biology was learnt through research teams visiting us here at the Sanctuary and learning from the sloths in our care. I am so excited that earlier this year we were able to begin working closely with the government of Costa Rica to launch a new release program to return our hand-reared orphan sloths to the wild. As many of you may know, we have struggled in the past to successfully do this as so little was known about the biology of these incredibly unusual animals. However, with recent advances in scientific knowledge and post-release monitoring technology, this is now a possibility for us! 

This release program has been a dream for me, but for the first time since our beautiful Buttercup was brought to me as an orphaned rescue in 1992, I am fearful, and absolutely heartbroken, to think of the possibility that the Sloth Sanctuary may not survive for much longer. This is why I am reaching out to you, to the friends-of-the-Sloth-Sanctuary, for help to continue my life’s work.  


We are a family-operated rescue center, with my daughter and four adult grandsons helping me in all aspects of running the center. Along with the rest of the world, the quarantine and closed borders have affected us tremendously (adversely). As many of you know, we depend solely on eco-tourism to support our rescue, research and education programs. We receive no other outside funding of any kind. Although our doors have sadly been closed to the public, our work goes on as orphaned and injured sloths continue to arrive in need of help. We will never say no to an animal in need.


Effectively, Covid-19 has isolated us from the world. People are unable to travel as before and we are now in the very real danger of losing everything and having to close our doors forever. We have survived on our financial reserves since April, but these reserves are now empty. 

I am desperately asking our dear followers, sloth-lovers, and Loyal Friends of (World-Famous!) Buttercup for help. Without your support, we can no longer afford to continue feeding or providing medical care to the permanent resident sloths that are in our care, for the sloths that are currently going through rehabilitation, or for any new arrivals that need our help. 

Any assistance that you can give is just so welcome and profoundly appreciated.

Remember, Slow is Beautiful, and I love every one of you,

Judy (Sloth Mom)

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