It's cute to see baby animals playing with toys, right? But it's more than heart-wrenching when you find out why these babies cling to these toys.

Every year, lots of baby monkeys, sloths, anteaters and other young wildlife are rescued from the Amazon after having lost their mothers to poachers or hunters. Because they've lost their mothers at so young an age, they have nothing to cling to, which is a behavior many of these animals share during the early years of life.

In order to help facilitate the young animals' need to cling to something, a rescue center in Brazil has tried to recreate the experience by using surrogate mothers in the forms of stuffed animals. It's a cute image to see, but it's ultimately very sad when you realize that these youngsters are without the warmth of their mothers. Still, it's definitely a step in the right direction and helps them feel a sense of safety, security and warmth.

Stuffed Animals

According to The Dodo, two Brazilian environmental agencies called the IBAMA and Ipaam have launched a campaign called "Donate a stuffed animal to a real animal" in the hopes of spreading awareness of the plight of the animals in the Amazon and collecting more plushies for the young animals to adopt as surrogate mothers. Those who'd like to help can also donate face towels, bathrobes, sheets, blankets or pillows. Find out more info here.

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