Urban Sloths: Public Knowledge, Opinions, and Interactions
Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa 36570-900, Brazil
School of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford Manchester, Salford M5 4WT, UK
Institute of Humanities, Arts and Sciences (IHAC), Federal University of Southern Bahia, Itabuna 45613-204, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 8 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife
Free-range sloths living in an urban environment are rare. In this study, opinions, attitudes, and interactions with a population of Bradypus variegatus were investigated through short, structured interviews and informal, opportunistic observations of people in the pubic square where the sloths live. A questionnaire was applied to people in the square where the sloths live. Opinions about population size differed greatly and younger people were concerned as to whether the square was an appropriate place for them. Some human-sloth interactions showed the consequences of a lack of biological knowledge. Sloths are strictly folivorous and are independent of human sources of food. Apparently, sloths are indifferent to humans. Despite the good intentions of people, there are many misconceptions about the behaviour and needs of sloths, which causes low wellbeing for the animals. These results demonstrate that actions in environmental education of the public could be beneficial for sloths.