Sloth in Iquitos, Peru in the Amazonian Basin


Bet you thought you’d be reading about a yawning sloth and a hungry jaguar. Actually this place is the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm and Amazon Animal Orphanage, a short boat ride from Iquitos, where founder Gudrun Sperrer gave us a personal tour. Pupating caterpillars just aren’t as photogenic as a sleepy sloth. The sad story is that there is even a need for this place, a place where Peruvian children finally learn that big blue butterflies don’t come from little blue butterflies; shockingly, the metamorphosis of butterflies isn’t taught in school so Sperrer hosts field trips. It’s because of Sperrer’s heart of gold that the orphaned animals have a home here. What else can be done with a pet jaguar who is no longer so charming? Her original intent was to raise butterflies in a protected environment, shipping pupae out to botanical gardens and zoological parks, now Sperrer is scaring up 25 pounds of chicken a day for a large cat’s dinner and paying dearly for vitamin enriched formula for an anteater, some sloths, several monkeys and a tapir. If you take a jungle tour in the Amazon, do NOT “rescue” an orphaned animal from anyone by buying it and setting it free. This just encourages more poaching.

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