Cute long-haired sloth clings to motorway barrier in Ecuador Facebook/Transit Commission of Ecuador

The terrified animal clung on for dear life to a motorway crash barrier in Quevedo, Ecuador. It was so scared that it refused to let go when a policeman approached to check on its health. The incident about the plight of the beautiful but vulnerable sloth was posted on Facebook and so far the images have been shared over 11,000 times, and received over 39,000 likes.

Policeman says 'I mean you no harm' to scared sloth Facebook/Transit Commission of Ecuador

Government organisation Comisión de Tránsito del Ecuador was overwhelmed by the feedback from the public, saying: "We are grateful to all for your concern.

"Be advised, the sloth bear rescued by our unis [sic] was reviewed by a veterinarian, and determined that it was in good condition to be returned to its habitat.

A policeman comes to the rescue of the sloth Facebook/Transit Commission of Ecuador

"We are grateful to everyone interested in the health of the animal. We will continue to support this kind of case along with the collaboration of citizenship. Greetings to all."

Commenting on the rescue, one person said: "Their acts of kindness and solidarity towards the weak and innocent… fill me with full love and pride

"Keep it going to create awareness and to raise awareness among the people."

The beautiful sloth is too scared to let go of the motorway barrier Facebook/Transit Commission of Ecuador

Sloths have few natural predators, apart from the harpy eagle. Once on the ground, they are also prey to jaguars. Their main threat is from man. They are hunted for food and when caught are sometimes made into shrunken heads for ceremonial purposes. What causes the most problems for the mammal is the clearing of forests by man, destroying their natural habitats.

It's unknown why the long-haired sloth strayed from its jungle habitat. A sloth's metabolic rate is very low for mammals and they do not need a large food intake. New studies show that they may sleep for 10 hours a day. Baby sloths stay with their mothers for the first six to seven months, clinging to their parents' backs.