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Meet the 'Sloth Lady' of Suriname

Updated 2:02 PM ET, Wed November 25, 2015
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CNN Hero Monique Pool has been helping to rescue animals -- mostly sloths -- in her native Suriname since 2005. Click through the gallery to see more images of Pool and these fascinating animals. John Nowak/CNN
Pool has been recognized for her particular interest in three-toed and two-toed sloths. "I live in the middle of the city, so we are working to build a professional rehabilitation center in the forest, so we can give the animals an opportunity to practice their 'sloth skills' before they are released," she said. John Nowak/CNN
Pool's nonprofit, Green Heritage Fund Suriname, started because of a lost pet. While looking for her lost dog, she called the Animal Protection Society and learned that a baby sloth had been orphaned. Pool offered to take it in. "I didn't know anything about sloths, but I learned a lot," said Pool. She sought advice from international experts on how to care for the animals. "Now, when sloths are injured or in trouble, all the telephone calls come to us." John Nowak/CNN
Pool has been recognized for her particular interest in three-toed and two-toed sloths. John Nowak/CNN
"My biggest rescue ever was in 2012 when we heard about this plot of land that was going to be cleared," Pool said. The group rescued 200 animals, including around 160 sloths. They jokingly called it "Slothageddon -- sloth armageddon." "During that time, it was really a bit weird to live here because there were sloths everywhere: in my living room, in cages, in my garage. Dozens of volunteers were helping." John Nowak/CNN
Pool also takes in anteaters, armadillos and porcupines. To date, she and her volunteers have rescued, rehabilitated and released more than 600 animals back to the rainforest. John Nowak/CNN
"When I release a sloth, I feel really happy because the animal is where he belongs. That's the ultimate goal of my work," Pool said. "Wild animals belong in the wild." John Nowak/CNN