Tico Sloth Image Will Fly with Frontier Airlines

    For the first time in history, a Costa Rican two-toed sloth was chosen to carry a message of preservation, decorating the tail of an airplane

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    The Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) and Frontier Airlines officially announced that the two-toed sloth was selected as the endangered animal that will embellish one of the new planes in the fleet of this US-flagged airline. Our famous national symbol will literally be “hanging” from the tail of this aircraft, with the aim of providing a conservation message and promoting Costa Rica in a unique and creative way as a sustainable destination with extensive biodiversity.

    Frontier traditionally displays on the tails of its planes a unique and emblematic animal of a country of its destinations, said species is baptized by the public with a special name and a particular background story. On this occasion, the two-toed sloth was chosen by the airline from a group of other animals in danger of extinction to highlight our country’s efforts to conserve it in its natural environments.

    According to Ireth Rodríguez, Head of ICT Promotion, Costa Rica’s position within the United States, our main source market for tourists, is remarkable, due to a sustainable tourism model that is committed to environmental conservation, since almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity is found in our territory. “We feel very honored that such an emblematic species of our country and national symbol as the sloth, is now an ambassador of our nature every time it takes to the air on the tail of a Frontier plane,” added the spokeswoman.

    “We are very pleased to honor our destination partner: Costa Rica and highlight one of the unique and extraordinary sloth species that call Costa Rica home,” said Tyri Squyres, Vice President of Marketing for Frontier. “Our animal-themed aircraft tails not only delight adults and children alike, they serve an important purpose by highlighting animal species, many of which are endangered. Some people come to Costa Rica just to see the sloths, and our nonstop service from Orlando to Liberia and San Jose offers easy and affordable flight options for visitors to come see them, as well as for Costa Ricans to travel to the US,” Squyres concluded.

    The most photogenic sloth

    Once the Marketing Department of the ICT was notified of the choice and the endorsement of the airline to decorate one of its aircraft with the image of a two-toed sloth, the airline requested the sending of a group of photographs of large format to choose the winner.

    In the development of the process, the ICT was advised by wildlife experts from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) to carry out the sloth photo session respecting all its guidelines. The recommendation given was precisely to visit at least two animal sanctuaries, spaces specialized in the rescue and care of endangered species that had sloths in adequate conditions, in recovery and under the supervision of a biologist.

    The selected wildlife sanctuaries were the Wildlife Rescue Center (known in the past as ZooAve) located in Garita de Alajuela, as well as the Natuwa species conservation center, located in Aranjuez de Puntarenas. Both locations contributed all their scientific knowledge to collaborate with the photo session of their two-toed sloths.

    Precisely, the Costa Rican photographer Jesús Fung was in charge of capturing the images for the ICT with the format and specifications sent by Frontier Airlines, respecting the natural behavior of the individuals who collaborated voluntarily and without forcing them at any time to make any movement, always waiting for the natural reactions of the lazy.

    Although more than 500 photos were registered in both locations, a total of 70 were selected, 35 photographs of the two finalist sloths and the material was sent to the airline’s marketing area for the selection of a single photo that would decorate the tail of the plane.

    The winning and selected photo was that of the restless and curious juvenile sloth with light fur, an inhabitant of the one-hectare forest of the Natuwa sanctuary, who brought his face close to the camera lens while moving on a solid branch, a moment that will be captured for the posterity in the tail of one of Frontier’s planes.

    Said image was revealed at the official announcement ceremony and will be shared as of today, on the social networks of the American air transport company on its Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.

    At the same time and through a contest, users will be asked to choose a name, using the hashtag #NameTheSloth. The three name options are: Manny, Tony and Tico. These particular names have a very particular explanation, Manny and Tony allude to the Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica where sloths can easily be seen in their natural environment. Tico is the name by which Costa Ricans are known.

    According to data from Frontier, the plane with the Costa Rican sloth will take to the skies and possibly land at one of our two main international airports in the first half of 2023.

    The national symbol

    Since August 24, 2021, the two- and three-toed sloths have been named as the national symbol of Costa Rica. The country decided to protect them and declare them an emblematic species, since they represent the conservation efforts that are being developed at the national level and are protagonists in the ICT’s tourism promotion campaigns.

    The two-toed sloth is the larger of the two sloth species found in the country. They are mostly nocturnal and can be distinguished by their bushy, thick fur. Sloths are mammals that spend about 90% of their lives in trees within tropical forests, their favorite tree to feed on is the guarumo and they can live up to 30 years.

    Costa Rica is taking measures to guarantee that these unique creatures continue to thrive in their natural habitat and is even one of the protagonist species of the Stop Animal Selfies campaign developed by MINAE with the support of ICT.

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