Conserving our planet's botanical resources and ecosystems

The Much-Maligned Sloth

Story on nhpr.org featuring Bryson Voirin, TREE’s student research associate:

After a long, lazy, food-filled weekend, we turn to the sloth. It’s an animal. It’s an insult. And the namesake of one of the seven deadly sins. Those of us who’ve watched any animal TV programs probably have an image of the sloth. Long-nosed and long-limbed, loping around and napping in the treetops.

The truth is that the sloth gets a bad rap. The languid-looking animals are faster and more agile than they get credit for.

Sloth-scientist and expert tree-climber Bryson Voirin is on a mission to revise our misconceptions about the critters. Bryson grew up in Florida, fascinated by wildlife and obsessed with the rainforests. He attended high school in Germany, but returned home to study biology and environment at the New College of Florida. There, he met Meg Lowman, a pioneer in canopy science, who took him on as a volunteer researching sloths in Panama. Before long he decided to focus his studies on arboreal mammals.

Bryson’s now 25, works with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and is pursuing his PhD with the Max Planck Institute. He joins us as part of our ongoing dedication to great young minds in science.