Altos de Polonia, ColombiaTo be a sloth catcher, you have to be an extraordinary climber.
Yilber Benites and Yarlis Morales take off their T-shirts and flip-flops and disappear up the tree. Flashes of flesh and fabric weave through jostling branches as the young men, both 20, climb higher. Bare skin, they’d said, helps them grip the bark, making it that much easier to scale a towering Cecropia and lessening the risk of a fatal fall.
We’re about two miles from Altos de Polonia, the village where they live in Colombia’s Córdoba department. I’d followed them across bushland and farm fields, scaling and sliding under fences as they searched for sloths. Climbing’s the easy part, Benites says—spotting a sloth can take days.
About 50 feet up, Benites