The sound was that of a baby’s cry, desperate and hungry. The dark sands of the Costa Rican beach were littered with branches and other debris. The storm that had just passed had made the sky dark. As Dirk ran across the rocks, his bare feet spread against the sharp stones. He quickly searched in between the pebbles and stones, under the rubbish and fallen trees. Out in the distance, Dirk could see the motionless creature stuck between the hard rocks, but was there time?
Dirk and Lori Morgan, originally from Ohio, are nature lovers. For three generations, the Morgans have provided stunning experiences in breathtaking places all over the world. From the eastern rivers of the Amazon to the vast Canadian wilderness, this family has one love: the need to share their passion for the outdoors with other people. Occasionally, there’s more to the outdoors than fun and sunshine.
All of the destinations that Dirk explores are ecological. The locales are protected by the visitors by protecting the natural beauty and conserving the environment. Costa Rica is one of the most popular places related to ecotourism. Keeping that in mind, the couple created a visitor lodge on the Osa Peninsula, which is near the eastern town of Puerto Jimenez. Lots of couples are attracted to the location. One of those couples heard a strange noise on one of their strolls along the shoreline.
Everyone heard the winds throughout the night, but the lodge was strong and kept them dry and safe from the chaotic storm. Tea and blankets were used to keep them warm enough to appreciate Mother Nature through the glass screen, while keeping them safe from her destruction. Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky. A tired and wet ball of hair was left motionless on the shore. The young creature had endured a long night.
No warmth, shelter, food, or protection. The unusual creature was completely vulnerable to the elements and other animals without the protection of its mother. Dirk didn’t hesitate. “I took off,” he said. He put one foot in front of the other as he ran in an attempt to find the creature before something else reached it first. Young animals that are exposed are vulnerable, even if their parent is nearby. Being alone, the animal’s fate was unknown.
“I’m literally sprinting down the beach barefoot with a kitchen apron on and a box with a towel in it.” Dirk immediately dropped his kitchen utensils and the breakfast was put on hold, but the guests were more than willing to help save the defenseless creature. He quickly ran along the shore, following the animal’s desperate cries. The animal was found between some rocks, but upon closer inspection, the animal seemed a bit odd.
A bare, pink, pointed face, drenched, knotted hair, and long, stretched-out arms. The critter looked more like a stuffed toy than an animal. Dirk couldn’t tell the difference between the crawling insects and the sand caught in the animal’s fur. Even though Dirk lifted the creature from the rocks, it still cried. Was it hurt? Dirk was getting closer to finding out what the creature was.
After spending the night scared and alone, the animal was provided with a cozy box and a dry towel. The gangly creature looked lost inside of the box that was entirely too big for it. The animal’s nose was pink and raw, a result of being stuck in a storm, being pelted by sand for eight hours. Dirk quickly wrapped the shaking animal in a blanket. The creature reached for Dirk, but something was a bit off.
Long nails (that would make any woman jealous) scratched the box. As the creature stretched, it rested two toes on the box’s edge. It was struggling to take in its new environment. A tiny squeal escaped, scared that Dirk was a predator. Lori and Dirk paused for a moment. What were they supposed to do now? Where could they bring the creature? And what was it? Luckily, the Internet saved the day.
Sloths are known for their extended limbs, long nails, and slow movements, but this sloth,, in particular, was missing an important feature — a third toe. Dirk explained what was going on: “We found a rare, young, two-toed sloth that survived the high tide and a storm overnight.” This sloth isn’t really connected to its very distant cousin, but they do have one thing in common: their undeniable laziness. And it’s more than just liking to sleep in.
Because of the sloth’s long limbs, they’re able to reach far without having to move their body at all. Sloths don’t care to waste energy on simple things, such as standing, so they save themselves the effort by hanging upside down on branches, either sleeping or awake. The craziest part is that sloths sleep for 15-18 hours every day, all while being camouflaged by the trees. Unfortunately, trouble awaits the sloths on the ground.
Sloths don’t actually walk anywhere. In fact, they just drag themselves wherever they need to go. So it’s obvious why they enjoy the safety of the trees: they’re far away from predators. Before Dirk and Lori arrived, nosy canines were harassing the stranded creature. “It started making that pitiful crying sound, like a baby. And it just totally melted my heart.” Once he got a closer look, Dirk the animal-lover couldn’t believe the sloth had made it this far.
The sloth was being blinded by the sand in its eyes. The couple arrived just in time because the sloth obviously couldn’t defend itself. They went back to their lodge to clean up the sloth. The animal’s rescue was witnessed by over 100,000 people all of the world, and they were all overwhelmed by Dirk’s kind nature. The sloth was named Guanabana, but only a week later, a shocking incident almost took their lives.
A fire consumed their lodge. They couldn’t control the flames, so the Morgans fled, but their beloved lodge was burnt to the ground. Fortunately, there were no causalities, but the Morgans only had the clothes they were wearing at the time. They stood in front of their lodge, confused on where they would sleep that night. But thanks to the Internet, and their eco-friendly ways, their good work with the sloth was remembered.
The Jungle Lodge has been an educational center to many travelers and students throughout the past 20 years! Besides the little sloth, the Morgans have rescued, moved, and donated bee colonies to the Cincinnati Zoo. Tiny Guanabana was also taken to the Tranquility Rescue Center. A GoFundMe page was set up and has managed to raise $1,500 to help the couple rebuild their livelihood. Nothing will keep this couple from doing what they love, especially not a fire!