Wildlife and wild places are worth fighting for. The WCS community is made up of wildlife champions like you, fighting to preserve a future for iconic animals and irreplaceable habitats. For over 125 years, WCS has worked to discover and understand the natural world, and to inspire communities to protect endangered species.
This year, WCS's Run for the Wild is inspired by sloths. These charismatic mammals spend much of their lives hanging upside down in the trees of the tropical rainforests of South America and Central America. A sloth’s fur hosts symbiotic algae, which provide camouflage from predators that include jaguars, ocelots, and harpy eagles. Sloths also have a symbiotic relationship with moth species that fertilize algae on the sloth, providing them with nutrients. In fact, each sloth’s furry coat could be described as a micro-ecosystem of its own.
WCS’s history in the study and protection of sloths dates back to the early 20th century, when researchers from our organization’s Department of Tropical Research studied these animals in their native habitats. Sloths face many risks in the wild - habitat degradation and fragmentation, wildfires, human-related accidents, hunting, and their capture for illegal trade as pets.
Today, WCS is working to document and protect the wildlife in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park - a key stronghold for biodiversity and home to at least 1,800 vertebrate wildlife species, including sloths. Madidi is one of the most important protected areas in the world due to its extraordinary biological richness, which is expressed in the diversity of ecosystems, flora and fauna. In addition to sloths, WCS works in Madidi to protect endangered and threatened species including the Andean condor, the vicuña, the Andean bear, the military macaw, the woolly monkey, the white-lipped peccary, the jaguar, the giant otter, the maned wolf, and many others. By supporting WCS, you are helping to to secure the future of these irreplaceable animals.
You can visit sloths seasonally in the Bronx Zoo’s Children’s Zoo or by scheduling an in-person or virtual Wild Encounter. You’ll learn more about the threats they face in the wild, the adaptations that help them to survive, and the work WCS is doing to protect them.
Animals around the world are going extinct 10,000 times faster than ever before. Your support will give them a fighting chance.