Choloepus hoffmanni 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Pilosa Megalonychidae

Scientific Name: Choloepus hoffmanni
Species Authority: W. Peters, 1858
Common Name(s):
English Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth
French Unau D'Hoffmann
Spanish Perezoso, Perico Ligero, Unau
Taxonomic Notes: Five subspecies are recognized by Gardner and Naples (2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-10-06
Assessor(s): Plese, T. & Chiarello, A.
Reviewer(s): Abba, A.M. & Superina, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Abba, A.M.
Choloepus hoffmanni is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, its occurrence in a number of protected areas, its tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a threatened category. However, because of ongoing deforestation, the northern population (nominate subspecies) of this species could potentially be assessed as Near Threatened.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Choloepus hoffmanni has two disjunct populations. The northernmost population ranges from Nicaragua south into western Venezuela. The southern population is found from north-central Peru through extreme western Brazil (south-western Amazonas and probably Acre states) to central Bolivia. There is a doubtful, outlying record for this species from the Rio Aripuanã, Mato Grosso state, Brazil (Fonseca and Aguiar 2004). Its range within Brazil is unclear, and further surveys are needed.
This species ranges from sea level to 3,300 m Asl in Costa Rica; up to 1,925 m Asl in Panama; and up to 1,150 m Asl in the southern Andes of Venezuela. In Colombia, the species is found in the biogeographical regions of the Andean zone, Caribbean and Chocó, more specifically in the departments of Cauca, Chocó, Cundinamarca, Nariño, Quindío, Sucre, Valle del Cauca, and Santanderes from sea level up to 3,200 m Asl (Alberico et al. 2000, Moreno 2003, Morales-Jiménez et al. 2004, Acevedo and Sanchez 2007).
Countries occurrence:
Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil (Acre, Amazonas); Colombia (Colombia (mainland)); Costa Rica (Costa Rica (mainland)); Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); Honduras (Honduras (mainland)); Nicaragua (Nicaragua (mainland)); Panama; Peru; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of (Venezuela (mainland))
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Choloepus hoffmanni occurs at densities of 1.05 animals per hectare on Barro Colorado Island, Panama (Montgomery and Sunquist 1975). It has been found at densities of 0.3 to 1.5 animals per hectare in the Andean region of Colombia, while densities in the lowlands of northern Colombia were 0.2 to 0.83 individuals per hectare (Alvarez 2004, Acevedo and Sanchez 2007).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Choloepus hoffmanni is largely found in lowland and montane tropical forest, both deciduous and mixed-deciduous. In Central America, it occurs in evergreen and semi-deciduous tropical moist forest, as well as in secondary forest, but it is rare or absent in lowland dry forest. In Costa Rica, it is able to use cocoa plantations (Theobroma cacao) as habitat (Vaughan et al. 2007, Peery and Pauli 2012) and frequently ventures into relatively open pastures in search of isolated feeding trees (Vaughan et al. 2007). It can also occur in dry grassland with thorny shrubs and trees (Nicaragua, Genoways and Timm 2003). These sloths are rather solitary. In cocoa farms of Costa Rica, the mating system involves a mixture of polygyny with promiscuity, the sex ratio is female-biased and male home ranges vary from 1.1 to 139.5 ha (Peery and Pauli 2012). Their herbivore-omnivore diet consists mainly of leaves, fruits and sap of some trees.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In some parts of its range, C. hoffmanni is hunted for food and to be sold as a pet to tourists.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It appears that there are no major threats to C. hoffmanni at the global level. Nevertheless, subpopulations in the northwestern part of its range, especially in Colombia and Central America, are declining due to severe habitat degradation and fragmentation. Furthermore, they are hunted by indigenous communities. Wild-caught individuals, especially offspring, are sold as pets to tourists in Colombia (Moreno and Plese 2006). This illegal trade is increasing and represents a cause of concern due to its impact on the wild population.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Choloepus hoffmanni is present in many protected areas. It is included in CITES Appendix III for Costa Rica. Further research is needed to establish whether there are taxonomic differences between the two disjunct populations.

Classifications [top]

4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.3. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.2. Area-based Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.3. Trade trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

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Citation: Plese, T. & Chiarello, A. 2014. Choloepus hoffmanni. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T4778A47439751. . Downloaded on 25 May 2017.
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