Threats to sloths
The brown-throated sloth population is threatened by human activities. In addition, their restricted diet prevents them from thriving in captivity. In fact, there are three major factors that contribute to the sloth’s dwindling populations: habitat loss, accident, and illegal pet trade.
Habitat loss is one of the major threats to the sloths. As we mentioned before, these mammals live most of their lives in trees. They do almost everything–eating, sleeping, mating, and even giving birth–while hanging on branches. Apart from that, you could say that they’re pretty much useless on ground level.
So just imagine what would happen if humans decide to convert a forest into an agricultural farm, palm oil plantation, or something else equally destructive. Cutting down trees would destroy the sloth’s home instantly. Without help from an animal rescue or sanctuary, these animals would be extremely vulnerable to predators, weather elements, and moving vehicles.
Cars are among the biggest dangers to sloths. There are times when these tree-huggers are left with no choice but to crawl on the ground to transfer to another tree. If the animals are crossing the road, drivers who are not paying attention are likely to run them over. If humans continue destroying rain forests, an increasing number of these animals will be forced out of their homes to crawl on the ground. Who knows how many more sloths won’t successfully make it to the other side of the road?
Illegal pet trade
Buying a sloth as a domestic pet is growing in popularity in many countries. Due to certain pet laws and policies, many people interested in keeping sloths as pets will opt for an illegal deal. These illegal suppliers will pluck the animals from their natural habitats and sell them without going through any governmental processes. Others might even kill the adult sloths and snatch their babies as the latter are in higher demand. Killing adult sloths, as well as abducting baby sloths from their natural habitat, will only contribute to reduced populations in the years to come.
While sloths are not endangered at the moment, it’s clear these amazing animals face challenges that may threaten their population in the future. But this can easily be avoided as long as we leave them alone in their natural environment, and remain diligent with sloth conservation efforts.