San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

Returning to the lake from Tilarán recently, Frank Goodell and Cheryl and Mike Higgins encountered a two-toed sloth, the world’s slowest mammal, trying to cross the busy lake highway shortly before the RE/MAX office. A local man had stopped his car crossways on the highway to protect the bewildered animal from speeding vehicles. Frank, the owner of Jaime Peligro bookstore in the Casa Delagua Gallery near Río Piedras, helped with the clever rescue while Cheryl took photos. Cheryl and Mike, here temporarily from the U.S. city of Las Vegas, are house-sitting for three months for friends at Río Piedras.

The Tico driver, evidently realizing that sloths will just naturally reach for a branch, broke one from a nearby tree and induced the sloth to grab hold. He and Frank then each took an end of the branch and carried the sloth off the highway, where they poked the branch up into the welcoming forest. Following instinct, the sloth immediately started climbing upward, far above the dangers on the ground. Sloths normally descend to the ground only once a week to eliminate body wastes. They must then be wary of dogs and other animals.

La Reserva Forest Foundation, a nonprofit based at Lake Arenal, is participating in Global Giving’s Global Open Challenge, a fundraising opportunity for nonprofit organizations working around the world, according to La Reserva co-founder Roberta Ward Smiley. The contest started Aug. 18 and will end Sept. 18. La Reserva’s objective is to restore and protect the world’s tropical indigenous forests, thus benefiting wildlife such as our lucky sloth.

If La Reserva can raise at least $4,000 from at least 50 donors, it will earn a permanent spot on, the internationally recognized marketplace for philanthropy that connects individual donors to the causes they care most about. No donation is too small, Roberta writes. The organizations that raise the most money will earn bonuses of $1,000 to $3,000. The organization that recruits the most individual donors will earn an extra $3,000. La Reserva’s Web site is

–Alex Murray


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