The pygmy sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus), a diminutive sloth species found only on Escudo de Veraguas Island off the coast of Panama, has been the subject of several Mongabay stories. But in 2013, one of our articles sparked an unexpected frenzy of attention.
In September 2013, Mongabay was tipped off about an incident at Panama’s Isla Colón International Airport involving an attempt to export eight endangered pygmy sloths. Writer Tanya Dimitrova’s in-depth investigative work brought the story to the world’s attention, putting the practices of Dallas World Aquarium, a controversial private zoo in Texas, in the spotlight.
The pygmy sloth was subsequently featured by a number of news outlets. In 2015, a study raised the population estimate for the species from 100 to more than 500, a rare welcome bit of news for a critically endangered species.