Conservation status

Of the 30 total Xenarthra species, three are ranked as Endangered, five as Vulnerable, two as Lower Risk, and six as Data Deficient—12 of these are armadillo species. Primary threats are human encroachment in the form of habitat de-

The teeth of the two-toed tree sloth (Choloepus didactylus) never stop growing. (Photo by Zoological Society of San Diego. Reproduced by permission.)
The three-toed sloth (Bradypus infuscatus) is an excellent swimmer. (Photo by Wolfgang Bayer. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

struction and exploitation for food. Accurate census data on anteaters, however, is difficult to obtain due to their solitary behavior and large ranges. It is also unclear how well they adjust to changing habitat. The giant anteater (Vulnerable) is the only member of the family Myrmecophagidae recognized by the IUCN—more detailed study is necessary to determine the status of the remaining anteater species.

Sloths are a CITES I endangered species, primarily as a result of habitat destruction. In areas where the rainforest survives and the traditional degree of diversity is maintained, sloths still can do well. For example, on Barro Colorado Island in Panama, a protected habitat, there were up to 8.5 three-toed sloths per 2.5 acres (hectare). This high density is supported because sloths learn tree species preferences from their mothers and inherit part of her territory at social weaning. Neighboring sloths prefer different tree species combinations, and so pass on different preferences to their young, thereby reducing the competition for the same trees in any area.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment