What is Episode 74 all about?
Alright, so we all know that sloths are adorable and that the whole world has been obsessed with sloths for the past decade. Now, what if I told you that a rare, miniature sloth exists on a remote island off the shores of Panama? Would you feel intrigued and want to learn more? That’s certainly how I felt when I was introduced to today’s guest and I knew that her story needed to be shared with all of you.
In this episode, we’re sitting down with Diorene Smith, DVM, wildlife veterinarian, and the world’s leading pygmy sloth researcher. As a child, Diorene knew that she wanted to save animals, even before she was aware of the term ‘veterinarian’. Because her vet coursework was so long and rigorous, she couldn’t study conservation biology while getting her degree, so she decided to contribute to conservation during her professional career. In the early 2010s, Diorene was selected to join the EDGE of Existence Programme hosted by the Zoological Society of London. During her fellowship, she laid the foundation for her future pygmy sloth project. Now in 2022, Diorene is the world’s leading pygmy sloth researcher and has won several awards for her work on the species, including the Disney Conservation Hero Award, and is an advisor for IUCN’s Xenarthan Specialist Group.
Diorene and I chat about everything currently known about pygmy sloths, how she partnered with the local indigenous community to create a successful conservation project, the current threats the species is facing, and what’s next to ensure that these mini-sized sloths stay around for millennia to come.
Alright, everyone. Here is my conversation with Diorene.
Listen to this episode.
Watch this episode on YouTube.
Diorene in the Field
Links & Resources
Pygmy Sloth Project
IUCN SSC Anteater, Sloth, and Armadillo Specialist Group: https://xenarthrans.org/
EDGE of Existence: http://www.edgeofexistence.org/species/pygmy-three-toed-sloth/
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