How would you define the word “slothlove?” According to photographer and conservationist, Sam Trull, slothlove is “the complete adoration of sloths and the infectious desire to improve their well-being and assure their conservation.” Trull knows this smitten feeling firsthand and showcases it in her first aptly titled photo book Slothlove, which is a page-turning adventure of smiling, furry sloth portraits.
Trull initially moved to Costa Rica to study primates…and then she met the sloths. She has since co-founded The Sloth Institute, which “focuses on the research, education and release of hand-raised sloths back to the rainforest.” In the introduction of her book, Trull writes like a proud surrogate parent, “There is nothing I enjoy more than being with the sloths. Making them happy makes me happy: I love the way they yawn, the way they scratch their faces, and the way they look at me when they want me to pick them up.” Her organization collaborates frequently with an animal refuge in Costa Rica named Kids Saving the Rainforest in order to raise awareness for sloth population endangerment. Many of the rescued sloths are orphans, “having lost their mothers to dogs, electric wires, cars, or general forest destruction, [and] they come in scared and alone and in need of a new place to call home.” Trull and her team provide protection, care, and love to the long-toed animals, giving her up-close photographs a bigger mission than “just being cute.”
Trull tells National Geographic that the main motivation for her book “was to educate people about sloths, because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. I hear some of the craziest things, like sloths never get stressed, which just isn’t true. Maybe because of that, sloths don’t get a lot of respect.” She attempts to flip the public’s perception of sloths by accompanying each portrait set with facts and anecdotes about the individual creature. She wants you to feel the slothlove, too.