The woman who adopted 200 cuddly sloths

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How far could you take your sloth love?

Well, Monique Pool, a woman who lives in Suriname, South America, opened her home up to 200 hundred sloths after she found them living on a plot of private land that was being cleared for new development.

“There was literally no place in my home or garden where you could go and not see sloths — they were everywhere!” she told BBC News.

It all started in 2005 when Pool lost her dog, a mongrel called Sciolo, and called the Suriname Animal Protection Society to see if they'd found it.

They hadn't, but they told her about Loesje (or Lucia), a baby three-toed sloth they didn't know how to look after. After Pool offered to take it she was instantly smitten. She sought advice from the famous sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica and learnt that she must feed her pet sloth goat's milk.

But two years later, Loesje died. "I didn't know what was wrong with him," she said and added that she wished she could ask him. The experience taught her how little expertise there was in the rehabilitation and care of three-toed sloths.

So, Pool built up a network of contacts and soon became the go-to woman for sloths in Suriname. If the police, the zoo or the Animal Protection Society heard about a sloth, they would call her. This is how she came to meet 200 sloths without a home.

In October 2012, a privately-owned, 17-acre plot of land was being cleared to make room for a cattle ranch near the capital city, Paramaribo. She was asked to take 14 sloths into care but, "After a month we were close to 100, and at the end we got to 200".

Thankfully, Pool had managed to source a steady supply of powdered goat's milk by then. "On some days I had 50 animals at my house. We had 17 babies at one point, being fed with droppers by volunteers," she said.

Sloths were hanging everywhere in her home, from the trees in her back garden to the bars on the living room window and anything else they could hold on to.

"Two female adults sat on the TV stand and the babies would climb on the matriarchs," said Pool. One of the youngest sloths, called Lola, would appear in the strangest places, such as the stove top when the gas was not alight.

After her experience, Monique Pool invented the term "slothified" as a description for her home and life.

So, would you like to be slothified? Read Pool's definition below:

1. Overwhelmed by sloths

2. Overwhelmed by sloth - so tired after catching sloths all day that you don't want to get out of bed

3. Overwhelmed by the cuteness of sloths (baby sloths in particular)

4. Overwhelmed by sloth lovers

(Image credit: BBC News, and Green Heritage Fund Suriname)

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