Ten years ago, the pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus Pygmaeus) lived undisturbed ten miles off the coast of Panama on a tiny island the size of Central Park in New York City. Now that’s changed and the pint-sized slowpokes are teetering on the edge of extinction. In mid-March, a volunteer pilot from LightHawk, flew a donated...
The Critically Endangered pygmy three-toed sloth lives in one place on earth and that place is under pressure. image: Craig Turner/ZSL
Ten years ago, the pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus Pygmaeus) lived undisturbed ten miles off the coast of Panama on a tiny island the size of Central Park in New York City. Now that’s changed and the pint-sized slowpokes are teetering on the edge of extinction.
In mid-March, a volunteer pilot from LightHawk, flew a donated flight with the Zoological Society of London to map the sloth’s remaining habitat on the island which is mostly inaccessible on foot.
Exploring the entire island from the air enabled scientists to quickly identify imminent threats and pressure points. The information the scientists brought back will help create a conservation plan to protect the sloth’s only home.
The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Meet the Author
After spending a year and four days in the extreme cold and white of Antarctica, I came back to the world a changed person. My passion is to share stories of people doing extraordinary things and I've done that since 2008 as the chief storyteller for LightHawk. LightHawk is a unique non-profit that grants flights to conservation groups through a network of volunteer pilots. Nearly everyday LightHawk donates educational, scientific and photography flights covering the U.S., Mexico, Central America and parts of Canada. LightHawk volunteer pilots, aircraft and resources help to tip the balance toward sustainability for every major environmental issue within our targeted areas of focus. My favorite part of flying at 1,000 feet in a small aircraft is seeing how that perspective changes how people see their communities and empowers them to take positive action on behalf of conservation. Taking off is pretty cool too.