Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica

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Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica
9°47′58″N 82°54′54″W / 9.799565°N 82.915112°W / 9.799565; -82.915112
Date opened1997
LocationLimón Province, Costa Rica

The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica (Spanish: Santuario de Perezosos de Costa Rica) is a privately owned animal rescue center located near the city of Cahuita. The Sanctuary is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, research, and release of injured or orphaned sloths.[1] Tours of the Sanctuary are offered to the public.


After the 1991 Limon earthquake ended their birding tourism business, Judy Avey-Arroyo and her husband Luis Arroyo built a hotel on their property.[2][1] In 1992, three girls brought the Arroyos an orphaned baby three-toed sloth. At the time, very little was known about sloth biology. By observing what the wild sloths on their property ate, the couple were able to hand-rear the sloth, named Buttercup, who lived in the Sanctuary until her death in 2019.[1][2][3] In 1997, the Sanctuary was officially recognized as a rescue center, becoming Costa Rica's first sloth-only facility.[1]

The lives of the Sanctuary's sloth residents were documented in the 2013 Animal Planet television series, Meet the Sloths.[4] In 2016, two former employees accused the Sanctuary of animal mistreatment, which Avey-Arroyo denied.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b c d "ABOUT US". Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b Sevcenko, Melanie (17 April 2013). "Sloth sanctuary nurtures animals back to health". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Sloth Sanctuary Costa Rica - Buttercup". Facebook. June 29, 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  4. ^ Fendt, Lindsay (29 November 2013). "Costa Rican Sloth Sanctuary featured on new Animal Planet series". The Tico Times. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ Schelling, Ameena (19 May 2016). "Famous Sloth Sanctuary Is A Nightmare For Animals, Ex-Workers Say". The Dodo. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  6. ^ Krumholtz, Michael (1 August 2016). "Inside Costa Rica's Sloth Sanctuary: Horror show or a solution to a complicated issue?". The Tico Times. Retrieved 1 January 2018.