How to build more sloth-friendly cities

Why did the sloth leisurely cross the road?

To get to the other side.

But this, as it turns out, is not without its complications, as detailed in Bloomberg's CityLab. As human developments and urban sprawl expand further and further into their once-pristine habitats, those adorable arboreal mammals are, erm, a little slow to adapt.

That's why the Costa Rica-based Sloth Conservation Foundation are taking the proactive steps of providing urban planning for sloths, working with communities to build sloth-friendly street crossings and more:

The Sloth Conservation Foundation, based in southern Costa Rica, is trying to help sloths adapt to this changing environment, by stringing rope above roads that sloths can traverse by their signature crawl in just three minutes flat. So far, the foundation has built more than 130 such sloth crossings, which cost $200 each to install. They've also worked with the local electric company and with nearby property owners to sloth-proof their power lines, which sloths sometimes cling to when trees are scarce.

"If you're putting up safe ways for them to travel from tree to tree, then they're not getting attacked by dogs because they're up in the canopy; they're not getting electrocuted, because they're using the ropes instead of the cables; they're not being hit by cars," says Rebecca Cliffe, the founder of the foundation. "Nobody bothers them up there." 

The organization built 150 of these sloth-crossings in 2021 alone, with more to come.

How to Design a City for Sloths [Sarah Holder / Bloomberg City Lab]