Kent woman travels to help injured sloths

Alanah Buss, 20, travelled to Costa Rica to take care of injured sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary for two weeks.

Kent resident Alanah Buss travelled to a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica to help care for injured sloths for two weeks.

Kent resident Alanah Buss travelled to a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica to help care for injured sloths for two weeks.

Alanah Buss, 20, travelled to Costa Rica to take care of injured sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary for two weeks.

“I didn’t except that going here would teach me a lot about life,” she said. “A trait of the sloths is that they are leisurely, they take their time and enjoy life. This taught me that I need to slow down in my own life sometimes.”

Buss is a junior at Washington State University, where she studies animal sciences in the hopes of becoming a veterinarian.

“I am still deciding what type of vet I’d like to be,” she said. “I’m considering small animal surgery, exotic animals or a zoo vet.”

Buss has always been an animal lover.

“Animals are amazing because they don’t talk back, they give you unconditional love and there’s no drama like there are with humans,” she said. “I remember watching a show called ‘Emergency Vet’ when I was six and that got me hooked, I wanted to be a vet ever since.”

Buss wanted to go on the trip to Costa Rica after watching videos of sloths.

“I thought they were so cute,” she said. “And I knew the experience would help me get into veterinarian school.”

Buss researched the information on the trip and started saving money.

“She did this all on her own,” said Staci Buss, Alanah’s mother. “I was a nervous wreck waiting to hear that she was okay over there, but I am so proud of her for making it happen for herself. Whenever Alanah has a goal, she goes for it all the way and makes it happen.”

The Sloth Sanctuary is a 300-acre reserve based in Limon, Costa Rica, where a group of volunteers dedicate themselves to research, rescue and sloth education. Injured sloths are brought into the sanctuary to be cared for and released back into the wild.

“Costa Rica is not animal friendly,” Alanah said. “The locals have been known to pour gasoline on animals and set them on fire.”

Alanah took care of a sloth that was missing an eye due to children abusing it.

“It was so hard to see an animal that had been hurt and was in pain,” Alanah said. “But taking care of them and watching them get better felt really good.”

Alanah got to feed the sloths and take them on walks. She helped teach baby sloths how to climb and get food.

“Sloths are such loving animals,” Alanah said. “This was such a fun trip that taught me a lot.”

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