Pygmy Sloth Conservation Update

October 02, 2013 Julia Heckathorn

The Hidden Clover children's book company is taking next steps to preserve the critically endangered Three-Toed Pygmy Sloth population in cooperation with local Panamanian leaders. Hidden Clover also continues to work with conservation partners including the London Zoo, the Dallas World Aquarium, the Minnesota Zoo, and the Tree Foundation to protect the sloths and their habitat. The situation is complicated because the sloths live only on a small island in Panama that is also used by local fisherman as a source of food and income. Today, these seasonal residents cut down trees and put a strain on the island's natural resources and the Pygmy Sloth habitat as they work to provide for their families on the island during the fishing season. The Hidden Clover approach to conservation recognizes the social, cultural, and economic complexities and remains committed to the belief that any sustainable conservation for Escudo Island and the Pygmy Sloths must also be good for the local people culturally and economically.

During a September conservation trip to Panama, the Hidden Clover Team met with the Mayor of Escudo Island, local congressional representatives, and the President of the Fisherman's Association of Escudo Island. During these meetings there was general consensus regarding the need for island signage, park rangers, and community education. Search for the Hidden Clover Author (pictured with Mayor Archibald and Congressman Hobart), Julia Heckathorn stated,

"I was impressed both by the drive of the local leadership to help their people and their understanding of the environmental issues. I am eager to work with them for a solution that addresses both."

Escudo Island is also the home to multiple other endangered species, some of which are found only on the island. While there is much work to be done, with the conservation partners now working in conjunction with local and national authorities, there is a renewed hope that the Pygmy Sloths and their tiny island may be preserved. Hidden Clover is working with conservation partners to raise funding for a rotation of rangers to patrol the island and planning a next conservation trip to Escudo Island in the Spring of 2013. Hidden Clover conservation is supported through the proceeds of Hidden Clover children's book sales. The books can be purchased at http://www.searchforthehiddenclover.com, amazon.com, or barnesandnoble.com and make great holiday gifts for ages 2-11 with rhymes, games, adventure, and scientific facts. The newest book in the series being released this holiday season will be set on Escudo Island in an effort to raise awareness of the Pygmy Sloths.

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