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When an orphaned three-toed sloth was brought to her doorstep over 20 years ago, little did Judy Avey-Arroyo know that her whole life was about to change. We find out how the arrival of this single baby sloth led to the creation of a world-renowned sloth rescue and rehabilitation centre.

The Sloth Sanctuary is now a specialist institution that provides visitors the opportunity to meet this intriguing creature. The centre is dedicated to the protection of the two Costa Rican sloth species – the brown-throated three-toed sloth, Bradypus variegatus and Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth, Choloepus hoffmanni. Over 500 sloths have passed through the doors of the centre since it opened, with approximately 150 currently in residence, providing a full time job for the dedicated team of volunteers who help to keep the centre running.

Strange but true
- Sloths have algae growing on their fur that aids their camouflage in the treetops.
- Despite looking like monkeys, sloths are actually most closely related to anteaters!

Download our full story PDF, including text, here.

Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) claws next to human hand at the sloth orphanage.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) claws next to human hand at the sloth orphanage. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies.  Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) portrait. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) portrait. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) portrait with open mouth, showing degenerate teeth. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) portrait with open mouth, showing degenerate teeth. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) claws around a branch; effective both as climbing-hooks and as defensive weapons against the sloths' main predator, the jaguar. Captive. Aviarios...  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) claws around a branch; effective both as climbing-hooks and as defensive weapons against the sloths' main predator, the jaguar. Captive. Aviarios...
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloths (Bradypus variegatus) hanging from a tree trunk, demonstrating bark-mimicking colouration. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three-toed Sloths (Bradypus variegatus) hanging from a tree trunk, demonstrating bark-mimicking colouration. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) mother hanging from branch with baby on her chest. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) mother hanging from branch with baby on her chest. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) by tree trunk, showing the bark-mimicking colouration of its fur. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) by tree trunk, showing the bark-mimicking colouration of its fur. Captive. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica.
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) hanging from a cecropia tree.   Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) hanging from a cecropia tree. Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Costa Rica, 2008.
Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) portrait.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) portrait. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.
Close-up of Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) coarse fur.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Close-up of Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) coarse fur. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.
Sloth Moth (Cryptoses choloepi) against sloth fur. This moth lives in the sloth fur until the animal defecates, when it lays eggs in the faeces. Aviarios del Caribe, Cahuita, Costa Rica.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Sloth Moth (Cryptoses choloepi) against sloth fur. This moth lives in the sloth fur until the animal defecates, when it lays eggs in the faeces. Aviarios del Caribe, Cahuita, Costa Rica.
Close-up of fur pattern markings of the Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus).   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Close-up of fur pattern markings of the Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus). Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.
Two baby Hoffman's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni).   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Two baby Hoffman's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni). Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.
Baby Hoffman's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) feeding.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Baby Hoffman's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) feeding. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.
Baby Hoffman's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) sleeping.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Baby Hoffman's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) sleeping. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.
Baby Hoffman's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) sucking its claw.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Baby Hoffman's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) sucking its claw. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.
Volunteers exercising young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) at the sloth orphanage.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Volunteers exercising young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) at the sloth orphanage. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Volunteer exercising young Brown Throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the sloth orphanage.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Volunteer exercising young Brown Throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the sloth orphanage. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Young Brown Throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the sloth orphanage.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Young Brown Throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the sloth orphanage. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Volunteer exercising young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) at the sloth orphanage.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Volunteer exercising young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) at the sloth orphanage. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Baby Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) being bottle fed.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge and orphanage, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Baby Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) being bottle fed. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge and orphanage, Costa Rica, 2008.
Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) playing at the sloth orphanage.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) playing at the sloth orphanage. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) playing at the sloth orphanage, watched by volunteers.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) playing at the sloth orphanage, watched by volunteers. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) playing the sloth orphanage, watched by volunteer.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) playing the sloth orphanage, watched by volunteer. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) playing at the sloth orphanage, watched by volunteer.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) playing at the sloth orphanage, watched by volunteer. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies held by orphanage owner, Judy Avey-Arroyo. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Ric...  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies held by orphanage owner, Judy Avey-Arroyo. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Ric...
Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies held byorphanage owner, Judy Avey-Arroyo. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica...  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies held byorphanage owner, Judy Avey-Arroyo. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica...
Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) held by the orphanage owner, Judy Avey-Arroyo. Reaching out arm to human hand. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) held by the orphanage owner, Judy Avey-Arroyo. Reaching out arm to human hand. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies held by  orphanage owner, Judy Avey-Arroyo and a volunteer as an older three-toed slot...  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies held by orphanage owner, Judy Avey-Arroyo and a volunteer as an older three-toed slot...
Two girls with tame Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus), 'Buttercup'.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Two girls with tame Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus), 'Buttercup'. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.
Child looking at baby Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) on lawn at the sloth orphanage.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Child looking at baby Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) on lawn at the sloth orphanage. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Conservation worker with tame Brown-throated Three Toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus).   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Conservation worker with tame Brown-throated Three Toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus). Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) tiny baby bottle feeding.  Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) tiny baby bottle feeding. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) tiny baby bottle feeding.  Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) tiny baby bottle feeding. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby held in hand. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby held in hand. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby wrapped in cloth. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby wrapped in cloth. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies being fed. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies being fed. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies being fed by volunteers.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Brown-throated Three Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) and Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies being fed by volunteers. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby being fed.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby being fed. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) and Brown-throated Three Toed Sloths babies in a box at the sloth orphanage.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Young Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) and Brown-throated Three Toed Sloths babies in a box at the sloth orphanage. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby with food in mouth.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby with food in mouth. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby with plate of vegetables.  Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby with plate of vegetables. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby with plate of vegetables.  Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby with plate of vegetables. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby being fed  vegetables by volunteer.  Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby being fed vegetables by volunteer. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies in cages.  Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) babies in cages. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby being bottle  fed by volunteer.   Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / Hoffmann's Two Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) baby being bottle fed by volunteer. Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
People preparing meals for the sloths at the sanctuary, Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.  -  Roland Seitre
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Roland Seitre / People preparing meals for the sloths at the sanctuary, Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, Costa Rica, 2008.
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