“I am super impressed that The Toucan Rescue Ranch, Veterinarian Dr. Janet Sandi, and The Sloth Institute have joined forces to create an incredibly strong multidisciplinary team. Each brings a unique expertise to the problem of rehabilitating and releasing sloths making them uniquely qualified to take on the daunting task of getting injured Costa Rican sloths back in to the wild. I am looking forward to following their progress.”

– Donald Brightsmith
Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Health
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University
Director of the Tambopata Macaw Project

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NEWS on Releases

Press Release | June 13, 2016

The Sloth Institute and Toucan Rescue Ranch Partner to Help Orphan Sloths

Collaboration focuses on releasing hand-raised orphaned sloths back into the rainforest

The Sloth Institute of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (TSI) announces its collaboration with Toucan Rescue Ranch (TRR) to enhance its Sloth Release and Education Program at TRR. TRR’s release site is located in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica, which is one-hour from their rescue center.This release site has 40 acres of rainforest where 16 sloths have already been released by TRR. TSI is excited to further this release program with the release of hand-raised orphaned sloths as well. The collaboration, in alignment with TSI’s mission of the conservation and well-being of sloths, focuses on a 3-part release plan of hand-raised orphaned sloths back into the rainforest.

“We are very excited to be able to share what factors we have learned and are learning that contribute to hand-raised orphaned sloths successful re-entry into the rainforest”, said Sam Trull, co-founder and Sloth Director at TSI. “The sloths at TRR will begin their journey into TSI’s Soft-Release Program. Fitted with tracking collars, the sloths will be tracked around the clock to collect behavioral data, locational data and health status information; critical for the replication for other orphans to have a chance at going back home to the rainforest.”

“Our hope with this collaboration is to better learn how to prepare orphaned sloths brought to our center for eventual re-entry into the rainforest” said Leslie Howle, Founder/Owner of TRR. “There is a critical need to give these orphaned sloths a second chance at life and with The Sloth Institute’s assistance we are so excited to be a part of the sloths journey back to the jungle where they belong.”

Trull, who spent more than a decade working with primates, began her study of sloths three years ago. “Sloths are not a primate species but are very similar and endearing because of their human like qualities and are in danger”, said Trull. Howle who has spent over 12-years working with Costa Rican wildlife and nine-years with sloths, is excited to enhance their release site and see sloths off into their journey to be wild. Trull and Howle have been sharing sloth information for the past two years. For more information about the collaboration, see

About The Sloth Institute of Costa Rica

The mission of The Sloth Institute Costa Rica is to enhance the well-being and conservation of wild and captive sloths through research and education. TSI is also dedicated to collaborating with sloth rehabilitation programs to assist with the release of hand-raised orphaned sloths. TSI is located in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. For further information or to donate to this project, email or visit

A Release Candidate VS. Permanent Residents


Release Candidate:

An animal that is brought to the Ranch with prior instincts and the knowledge of surviving in the wild is likely for release. Such cases are adult raptors, owls, sloths and birds that are brought in with minor injuries that can be treated within a timely manner. Also, toucan offspring in our breeding program will be also be release candidates. However, it is important to note that process of release depends on the collaborative agreement of Leslie, Vet Janet and MINAE on whether the animal can be released.

Permanent Resident:

An animal that is brought to the Ranch with severe injuries that will prevent the animal from eating, hunting or supporting itself in the wild. As well as offspring or orphans that have little to no prior knowledge gained from parental guidance for proper diet, habitat and behaviors. Also, animals that have desensitized to human interaction will be unfit for release; because that animal risks being captured and reintroduced into the black market, illegal pet keeping, etc.

The Release Site

The release site is expanding and enabling the Ranch to release more wildlife! The Ranch has two properties, one parcel of 25 acres and another one measuring 16 acres where our farm house is located.  Here, we are planning to provide volunteer opportunities for zoology, biology, veterinary and other wildlife professions to gain hands-on-experience with releasing wildlife. There will be two fulltime staff living on the property to help manage the daily operations of the release program. The staff will also ensure the success of animals released and record areas for improvement. As well as an education program for the local area to inform locals and tourists alike about the importance of keeping wildlife wild and the influence humans have on our ecosystems.

An important piece of equipment that would enable the Toucan Rescue Ranch to release more wildlife is to have a GPS tracking system. This equipment would allow the Ranch to monitor and evaluate its release candidates while keeping detailed record on its diet, habitat, breeding and so forth. It would also encourage more releases because of the ability to know what is and isn’t working when released. Yet, we would need a full-time experienced professional whose managed GPS tracking to properly implement a successful tracking program. If you’re interested in learning more on how you can help this future project please email

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