Liège Airport: three sloths freeze to death on a plane

Three sloths died frozen to death inside an aircraft at Liege Airport in the weekend of January 21 and 22. Learning “with amazement” of the death of the three animals this Monday, the Walloon minister of Animal Welfare Céline Tellier is considering sanctions if a fault is established.

Tellier is considering sanctions if faults were to be established, she said on Bel-RTL today. “It will be necessary to make all the clarity, and if sanctions must be taken, they will be taken”, said the minister on the radio.


Due to a blizzard, the airport in southern Belgium was paralyzed for 24 hours and the plane was blocked on the taxiway. Nine sloths were transported as cargo inside an aircraft from a Qatarese company. The aircraft was travelling from Peru via Liege to Doha and then on to Indonesia.

Twenty-four hours later, when the container was finally opened, three of the sloths turned out to have died of cold. These animals are used to temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees in their natural habitat.

Oldest mammals

Sloths are endemic to the tropical region from the Yucatan peninsula in Central America to South America. They are not bears, as many people call them. Sloths are actually Xenarthros, one of the oldest groups of mammals in the New World, which includes three types of animals: sloths, anteaters (not bears either), and armadillos. They are a vulnerable species listed on the IUCN Red List, due to habitat loss and degradation. Sloths are also featured in the Disney film “Jungle Book“.



Brown-throated Three-toed sloth in the Peruvian Amazon ©BELGA PHOTO (Mary Evans)





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