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A Couple Saw This Lifeless Creature Clinging Onto Rocks. But As They Approached They Heard A Noise

Image: Facebook/Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
The Ohio couple raced down the Central American beach on a mercy dash for a displaced baby creature in great distress. They had heard the elements raging around their visitor lodge the previous night and knew that the wild weather had wreaked havoc. The pair saw the soaked victim of the storm, seemingly motionless on the rocks of the shore. And then they heard the pitiful noise. Was it telling them that they were too late?
Image: Facebook/Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
Lori and Dirk Morgan of Morrow, OH, run their own business, called Morgan’s Canoe and Outdoor Adventures, in nearby Oregonia. In addition, up until January 2018, the 50-something couple also ran a Central American extension to their enterprise called Morgan’s Jungle Lodge. And it was there, in a remote part of Costa Rica, that the Morgans had an outdoor adventure of their own in early 2018 which swiftly went viral.
Image: Facebook/Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
The story began on January 15, 2018, at their visitor lodge on the Osa Peninsula near the eastern town of Puerto Jiménez. By Dirk’s own admission the location is isolated, but the Morgans marketed the property as an ecological destination. In fact, the couple were playing host to a pair of guests that day who had gone down to a nearby beach to explore. But the visitors had made the acquaintance of a local down there who had lost their way and needed urgent help.
Image: YouTube/ViralHog
Apparently, while the guests had been walking along the shore that morning, they had spotted an out-of-place baby critter on the rocks. They returned to the lodge owners with the news, and the Morgans wasted no time. The couple knew that a storm had lashed the coast the previous night and that this animal was probably a victim. As a result, they dashed off down to the beach to do their best for the stranded youngster.
Image: Bryn Davies
A baby animal separated from its mother and out of its natural habitat would be defenseless on the exposed beach. Not only would it be at the ocean’s mercy, but the infant would be an easy and tasty treat for any passing predators. “I took off,” Dirk recalled in a YouTube video uploaded by the current affairs show USA Today ten days later.
Image: Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
Indeed, it appears that Dirk dropped everything in his haste to help. “I’ve still got my cooking apron on because I was doing bacon that morning,” he elaborated. “I’m literally sprinting down the beach barefoot with a kitchen apron on and a box with a towel in it.” Luckily, he also had a camera on him and was able to film the moment he first saw the unfortunate creature.
Image: Facebook/Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
Dirk reported his discovery to the video distributor ViralHog on January 18, 2018. “We found the rare, young, two-toed sloth that survived the high tide and a storm overnight,” he said. The term for the species is actually a misnomer; you see, two-toed sloths actually have three toes, while they sport two finger digits.
Image: YouTube/AnimalistToo
Furthermore, sloths do not walk in the conventional sense. Instead, they use their hands to pull themselves along the ground. This is an extremely slow method of locomotion, hence their name and reputation. But in fact, this ungainly way of getting around does not present much of a handicap to sloths, since they live most of their lives in trees.
Image: Geoff Gallice
Indeed, the critters use their claws to hang upside down from branches, whether they are awake or asleep. Their bodies have adapted to this lifestyle to the extent that a sloth’s fur grows upside down too. In addition, the pelt attracts algae that gives it a greenish hue and aids with the animal’s camouflage.
Image: Facebook/Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
However, away from tree coverage a sloth is mostly defenseless; and if the Morgans had not made their mercy dash, the vulnerable baby may not have survived. As it was, Lori and Dirk had to frighten away a couple of canines who were showing a keen interest in the sloth.
Image: Facebook/Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
Dirk spoke soothingly to the distressed infant, and he told USA Today about what happened next. “It started making that pitiful crying sound, like a baby,” he said. “And it just… it totally melted my heart. I needed to help this poor creature out.” He described how the seawater of the recent high tide had soaked the young sloth and apparently left him terrified.
Image: Facebook/Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
The first thing the Morgans did was look around for the sloth’s mom, who was nowhere to be found. Dirk’s camera swept the nearby tree line – but to no avail. Perhaps the storm had displaced her too. Whatever the case, the baby sloth had apparently escaped the rising tide by clinging to rocks on the beach and was now petrified in position.
Image: Facebook/National Geographic
The Morgans knew there was no way they could just leave the infant there. “With no adult sloths in sight we carefully placed him in a box with a towel,” Dirk explained in the YouTube clip. “Then [we] took him back to the lodge and rinsed the salt water off [his] face.” They also cleaned the beach sand out of his eyes.
Image: Facebook/National Geographic
Yet although they did their best, the Morgans also knew that they could not care for the orphaned baby themselves. With this in mind, they next sought out expert assistance. Dirk continued, “We then took the baby sloth to the animal rescue center at Tranquility just down the road.”
Image: Facebook/National Geographic
Dirk concluded, “He seemed to be fine and happy to be dried off and safe.” The Morgans informed news sources that carers at the Tranquility Rescue Center in Puerto Jiménez planned to look after the sloth for a while. Apparently when he is strong enough, the sanctuary staff intend to release the two-toed sloth into the wild again.
Image: Facebook/National Geographic
Meanwhile, the YouTube footage of the baby critter’s rescue had received more than 100,000 views on ViralHog alone. Some people were critical of the Morgans decision to delay the rescue by filming the sloth’s distress first. Nevertheless, others appreciated their altruistic actions and were just as affected by the animal as Dirk was in his voiceover.
Image: Facebook/National Geographic
“OMG, that baby sloth is the most precious, innocent thing ever,” one commenter cooed among the plentiful postings of praise. Nonetheless, Dirk does not think of himself as a hero. “I think all I did was what any responsible… person would do,” he maintained to USA Today. “[To] rescue a poor animal that obviously had a really rough night.”
Image: raquel raclette
However, although the story ended happily for the baby sloth, fate had other ideas for the Morgans. Indeed, there was no good karma for the couple after they came to the poor critter’s aid. Just a week on from the rescue, a fire broke out at Morgan’s Jungle Lodge, and unfortunately the property was razed to the ground. The silver lining is that no-one was hurt in the incident.
Image: Facebook/Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
On the other hand, the fire claimed everything in the lodge and left the Morgans devastated. “We are saddened and shocked at this,” Dirk told Tennessee newspaper The Jackson Sun. No-one knows what caused the fire, but the Morgans have set up a crowd-funding page to help recover their losses.
Image: Facebook/Morgan’s Jungle Lodge
The couple have also pledged to donate some of the proceeds of their online appeal to the Tranquility Rescue Center. But what happened to the baby sloth the sanctuary took in? Well, he has now been given the name Guanabana, and apparently he is doing great. In a news story on the website Cincinnati.Com, Dirk is quoted as saying, “I feel fortunate that this wonderful little creature touched my life and that I could make a difference in his.”
 

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