Pygmy Sloths Slated for Protection Under ESA

Pygmy three-toed sloths (Bradypus pygmaeus) may be on track to receive protection under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). Such a listing would help prevent zoos and other US facilities from going abroad to pluck sloths from the wild in order to place them in captivity here in the United States.

AWI filed an emergency petition to list the sloths as endangered under the ESA on November 15, 2013, two months after Dallas World Aquarium attempted to export six sloths that were captured from Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama (see Fall 2013 AWI Quarterly). On June 9, 2014, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a positive 90-day finding on AWI’s petition, stating that it presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Subsequent to this finding, USFWS initiated a status review of the species to determine if it should be listed, and is accepting comments from the public until September 8, 2014. Specifically, USFWS is seeking information on the sloths’ biology, range, and population trends, as well as threats facing the sloths and their habitat. AWI is submitting comments and is encouraging others with expertise in the subject matter to submit comments, as well.


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