Baby sloth feeding time CC Dave Gingrich

A search for one lost animal has since led to the rescue of thousands.

While looking for her dog, Monique Pool stopped by a South African animal shelter to see if the shelter had found the pup.

They hadn’t, but Pool learned an orphaned baby sloth had recently became a resident there. The people at Suriname’s Animal Protection Society had no idea how to take care of the sloth, so Pool volunteered to learn about the species and help rehabilitate the animal.

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After her research she became a veritable expert. Before long, people began calling her with sightings of sloths in trouble and bringing her lost or injured animals.

Today the “Sloth Lady” runs Green Heritage Fund Suriname, a nonprofit that works towards conservation and protection for animals throughout the country. She’s rescued more than 600 sloths and other animals since her first encounter with one of the slow moving animals ten years ago.

Now she often gets calls from local police, firefighters, and even the zoo, seeking advice and assistance. Pool’s biggest rescue to date took place during a land clearing for new construction in 2012 when she took 200 animals into her home until they could be rehabilitated or released.

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“There were sloths all over,” Pool told CNN, “In my living room, in cages. I was ‘sloth-ified.’”

Her work has made Pool one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes of the Year.

You can vote for her as your choice for Hero of the Year at The network will announce the winner at their annual televised award show December 6, and present the 2015 winner with $100,000 for continuing his or her good work.

(WATCH the CNN profile of Monique Pool below) —Photo: Dave Gingrich, CC

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