A terrified sloth has been filmed clinging to a tree as illegal loggers chop down its home, before they capture and sell it.

Miraculously the sloth survived after the 100ft tree slammed to the ground in a forest in Peru.

The animal was then bagged up for sale for just £9.80 at a market in the nearby town of Iquitos.

Sloths captured by illegal loggers are sold at markets into the exotic pet or tourist entertainment trade, where they are forced to pose for selfies with tourists.

World Animal Protection released the footage and its CEO Steve McIvor said: “We know that animals stolen from the wild for use as tourist photo props are kept in filthy, cramped conditions or repeatedly baited with food, causing them severe psychological trauma.

“It is ludicrous that this is to fuel the wildlife selfie craze which has become a worldwide phenomenon.

“This industry is fuelled by tourists, many of whom love animals and are unaware of the terrible treatment and abhorrent conditions wild animals may endure to provide that special souvenir photo.”

He added that it is estimated that 80 per cent of Peruvian timber export stems from illegal logging and loggers many of whom seek to make additional money by capturing and selling wild animals including sloths used for tourist entertainment.

Three toed sloths are slow moving tree-dwellers and are easily caught by loggers.

They cannot escape and can do little to fend off their human attackers.

A male sloth usually stays in the same tree for his entire life, but female sloths move after giving birth, leaving the tree to the offspring.

To tackle the issue, World Animal Protection is calling on relevant governments to enforce the law, and ensure that travel companies and individuals who are exploiting wild animals for tourism in the Amazon abide by the existing laws.

The charity has also launched a Wildlife Selfie Code for tourists to learn how to take a photo with wild animals without fuelling the cruel wildlife entertainment industry. Source: Mirror