Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sloth gets a helping hand

Highways are deathtraps for animals, especially wild animals. Only a few days ago I spotted a dead anteater near the entrance to the BEC military base on the outside of town. Run over snakes are what we see most of on the roads, maybe because most drivers make it a point to kill them. The sloth, on the other hand, is an animal that most drivers try to avoid hitting and there are those caring people who will actually help them get over to the other side of the road. Such was the case today. As I started my decent from the "Serra" I spotted three motorcycles and a car stopped right in the middle of my lane. My first thought was, "... another accident involving motorcycles." As I got closer I saw one of the men lifting something from the pavement. "My God", I thought, "it must be a small child." You guessed it, it was a sloth, which was carefully taken to the other side of the highway and released in the woods. This was not the first time that I had seen such an incidence. It happens from time to time. As a matter of fact, I have never seen a dead sloth on any road here. Let's hear it for those people who offer a helping hand to our animals. Speaking of sloth, this week I looked up from my task of watering plants to see something in a tree that reminded me of a sloth. But the trunk and the upper levels of that tree is full of curves and contortions, so I was not sure. When the water bottle was empty I looked up again to discover that indeed it was a sloth and a very large one. Sloths are noted for being slow but this photographer is slower yet. By the time I found my camera, the beast had moved up on to another branch. My small digital camera has a 3x zoom function and I had it stretched to the limited. I shot off as many pictures as I could before the sloth disappeared further up into the tree top. Not one picture was worth keeping, except for this one, which surprised me because of the patch of light on one of the hind legs, creating more than a silhouette shot. Not a good picture but it was so nice to see a sloth again. They used to be very common at the Bosque but the devastation of the neighboring forests changed that forever.

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