As a slow-moving, slow-thinking, slow-acting sloth, I have to decide what is worth my limited energy. Once I have decided what I plan to do, I do it. When I am determined, I act. Neither Carol nor anyone else can stop me. Carol could not stop me from trying to cross a busy highway. Why was I so stubborn? How did I survive? This is my story. - Stubby Sloth
Why are sloths so stubborn? How do you think they have survived so long? A real adult sloth could not be stopped from repeatedly climbing down the bank to cross a major highway across the mountains of Costa Rica. He saw a female, and nothing can stop a male sloth from crossing a highway or a river to reach a female. Sloths actually swim very well, although they seldom do so. This male even tumbled on his head while trying to hang on to the steep cement roadside. I lifted him back up. All he did was crawl along to another spot to climb down. After we repeated this scenario five times, I finally carried him hastily across the road.
I photographed the entire story, except when I was lifting and carrying him. Unfortunately, after pointing him out to me, my guide took a trail too steep for me, so no one was there to photograph us together. The sloth did not react to my lifts, but he dug a claw into my back for security when we crossed the highway. As always, with my books, I let the sloth tell the story from his point of view of my interference in saving his life.
Why do I write children’s wildlife books? I have always been a teacher endeavoring to interest students in how to think and how to create. I have been promoting conservation in a variety of ways. My high school students and I created stories that we used to interact with those in kindergarten and first grade. Those students greeted me warmly when they reached high school and began initiating projects of their own.
Why sloths? Sloths are very appealing as well as unusual from the human point of view. It is an opportunity to see creatures that are quite distinct from us. I have been photographing birds, sloths, and other wildlife since 1992, when I took the Rainforest Workshop for Teachers, led by the famous guide and biologist Charlie Gomez. After that I took many birding Borderland Tours with Charlie Gomez and Rick Taylor. When I decided to see other parts of Costa Rica, I found Luis Barrantes of LUBARO. Luis is a fantastic driver, guide, and photographer, who has taken me on several trips each year, finding a number of little-known spots for wildlife, and having varied experiences with different wildlife during distinct seasons. I have taken thousands of photographs of any wildlife we encounter.
I had to use my wildlife photographs and teaching experience to introduce children to species found in Costa Rica, educating them about the importance of wildlife conservation.