A few weeks ago in Panama, a group of Texans, including a representative from the Dallas World Aquarium, landed in a private jet intending to airlift out of the country roughly 10% of the entire wild population of one of the most endangered animals on the planet. When caught, they explained they had a plan to establish a breeding population…return some to the wild, etc, etc.


Pygmy sloth released back on Isla Escudo de Veraguas. (Photo: Shannon Thomas / the Sea Turtle Conservancy)

The pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) is found on a single island–Isla Escudo de Veraguas–in Panama, and nowhere else in the world. A recent survey found fewer than 100 of the animals extant.

The secretive mission might have succeeded if suspicious bystanders hadn’t noticed a number of crates containing what appeared to be animals being loaded on the plane. Questions were asked. A large impromptu crowd formed vigorously insisting that the sloths be returned to the wild.

The Texans were forced to relinquish the animals and they were returned to the island the next day.

Source: Mongabay.