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Becky's making sloth progress.

A UNIVERSITY researcher living a Lara Croft-like existence in the snake-infested rainforest of Costa Rica has made major advances in her bid to unlock the secret lives of sloths.

Becky Cliffe, 24, known as the 'Sloth Woman of Costa Rica' is currently studying for her PhD under the supervision of Professor Rory Wilson of Swansea University - an animal behaviour expert who has pioneered the use of animal-friendly tracking devices. She has spent the past two years working at the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica and, using PS30,000 she raised in a "crowd-funding" campaign, has begun carrying out an exhaustive study of the slow moving animals in the country's extensive jungles.

One thing which has helped Becky's work is that researchers have discovered algae which grows in the hair of sloths could be used to fight breast cancer.

Sloth hair is not smooth but cracked to accommodate the growth of algae and fungi and on average, a sloth could be carrying up to 85 different kinds of fungi whose compounds could help in fighting diseases.

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Becky Cliffe in the Costa Rican jungle with a sloth

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:2COST
Date:Jul 24, 2014
Words:187
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