The causes of deforestation are agriculture and urbanization. The size of the Atlantic forest, locally called as the Mata Atlantica, has been reduced to 10% of its original size (Hance, 2010). Gravely affected with such change in landscape are the maned sloths, because an individual needs as much as a hectare as habitat. As well, contributing in the increased risk of their extinction is the fact that their litter size is 1 and there are only 15-20 births between February and April, although the absence of distinctive mane among juveniles allows them to hide in their mother’s fur. These slow-moving animals that spend 60-80% of their time resting is susceptible to become prey to mammalian predators (Hayssen, 2009).
Thus, this species is already enlisted as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Since human activity has a large part in it, ways on allowing harmonious co-existence between humans and wild animals must thus be determined before this endangered species become extinct.
Studies are thus being made to identify effective means for humans to better protect B, torquatus and to facilitate the increase in the population of this animal. Since much of the problem concerns the habitat, one of the studies conducted tried to determine whether cacao agroforest, locally called as cabrucas, interspersed between the remaining patches of Atlantic forests can serve as a habitat for this endangered species. Agroforestry has long been suggested as a solution to decreasing wildlife population partly caused by human-initiated landscape changes. This way, humans can earn a livelihood, while providing habitat to displaced animals as well.
For 40 months, Cassano and her colleagues (2011) monitored three maned sloths living in the Cabana de Serra farm containing primary and secondary forests interspersed with shaded cacao and rubber tree plantations.