The Sloth Center (Sloth Captive Husbandry Center) in Rainier, Oregon houses the world’s largest population of captive adult sloths and claims to be a “sloth sanctuary” but it is not.
Last year the center recieved a flood of media attention for its “sloth sleepovers” which I’m sure lead to a big increase in their tourism. The “Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center” promotes itself as a “highly specialized endangered and delicate species Wildlife Conservation Center” which is focused on “captive husbandry research” of sloths. It all appears normal on the surface but many visitors and sloth advocates have come out against the organization’s operations for good reasons.
Oregon is not an appropriate place for sloths. Sloths naturally live in the rainforest of Central and South America. There is no need for them to be rescued in Oregon. The organization claims to provide a home for displaced sloths but there is no excuse to bring these animals to Oregon in temperature controlled rooms. Displaced sloths should be relocated to forest reserves or in-country rescue centers where rehabilitation back into the wild can happen. The sloths they are breeding are also two-toed sloths that are not considered the species of sloths that are endangered.
The research center doesn’t actually do research. For 30 years they have had hundreds of sloths in captivity and yet there is not one single published article online of their research findings.
The owners have a history of illegally selling sloths and other exotic animals to the black market. The owners have been caught selling sloths and other exotic animals on illegal websites time and time again. Sadly most of these animals they resell will be used for roadside attractions or in zoos, and most will die from improper care.
The business exploits animals for personal profit. When they aren’t selling their sloths or exotic animals online they are hosting sloth sleepovers for $600/person. The business is clearly making money, but they are not investing that money back into the facility for the animals. The USDA has cited them for inhumane animal conditions that could harm the animals.
Keeping sloths in captivity for breeding is cruel. Sloths are more slow when they live in captivity which is a sign they are unhappy. Sloths in captivity sleep from 15 to 20 hours per day, which can leave them very little time for social activities. Sloths in the wild, though, sleep about as much as humans. These animals don’t want to be pets forced to sleep in small crates in a temperature controlled rooms. They want to be living in solitude in trees of Central and South American rainforests where they naturally inhabit.
Sloths are being illegally taken from the forest to be resold around the world as pets and entertainment. Sloths are the number one illegally traded animal in Colombia, and trees are literally cut down in Costa Rica to sell sloths. These animals desperately need protection in their natural habitats and should not be illegally imported, sold and abused in the United States.
I’ve been OBSESSED with sloths my entire life, and even ran a baby sloth Instagram for a few years. During that time I learned a ton about sloths and grew very concerned about the illegal pet trade. In the last decade humans have become more obsessed with sloths than ever before.
Please help me expose the truth about this shady organization and urge Trip Advisor to put a warning label when people go to their travel page. Sign Care2’s Petition HERE!
by: Molly B. (Care2)