Just back from a short business trip to Suriname where I had to present some seabird data to a collection of NGO's, oil company executives and Surinamese officials. With the job done I had a spare morning and was invited to the green heritage fund Suriname where a lovely lady called Monique and a group of volunteers take in and care for wild animals that are 'homeless' following the ongoing rainforest destruction around Paramaribo. This is largely due to small-scale slash and burn activities to clear the forest for cattle grazing and to create plots to build homes. Many of the animals are very slow moving three-toed sloths- especially orphaned babies that are taken to the centre after being found in felled areas of forest and that have lost their mothers during the panic associated with fleeing areas of burning trees. Other animals taken in include lesser and giant ant eaters. The animals are usually very traumatised upon arrival but quickly respond to gentle handling and being fed goats milk from a pipette. Many animals are re-released into secure areas of forest following varying degrees of rehab. It was a real privilege to assist Monique and her volunteers and get some 'hands on' experience of these endearing animals. A very special experience for me and also a big reality check concerning yet another low-budget volunteer set-up that is trying to protect endangered fauna. What a lesser world it would be without such dedicated people! If you win the lottery you can always donate online to this lesser-known organisation that also does great work looking out for the local river dolphins and bird life.
|what a smile!|
|me- holding the baby!!|
|once weaned the youngsters start on leaves|
|lesser ant eater|
photo credits- Marijke Deboer.