Although maned sloths occur in at least eight protected areas, it is unlikely that any of these support viable populations, because of the highly fragmented distribution of this species. Extensive conservation efforts are currently underway to protect additional areas of the Atlantic coastal rainforest, since it is home to a great number of species found nowhere else on the planet. The WWF is currently involved in community projects which seek to educate local people about the importance of protecting this forest. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is working on reduced-impact forest management and on providing alternatives to slash-and-burn agroforestry. Conservation International (CI) is focussing on ecotourism as a possible alternative income for local communities which might otherwise have cleared areas of forest for agriculture. In 1998 a canopy walkway was built near the Una Biological Reserve, saving 320 acres of valuable rain forest habitat from logging. Efforts to translocate individuals from urban or agricultural areas to protected forest reserves appear to have been relatively successful so far. Extensive post-translocation monitoring has been carried out, which is providing important data about the species’ ecology and habitat requirements, as well as an indication of the success of the translocations themselves. Attempts to breed the species in captivity have not proved as successful. This is primarily due to the fact that these sloths do not survive for more than a few months outside of their natural environment. Research projects are focusing on the close relationship between females and offspring, so that breeding and re-introduction programmes in the future are better informed and more successful.
As of 2010 this species has been included in the Brazilian government's ‘National Action Plan (NAP) for the conservation of central Atlantic forest mammals'. Costing an estimated US$32 million, this scheme aims to conserve geographic regions over specific species. Nonetheless, 27 named species, including the maned three-toed sloth are specifically targeted in the plan. The early stages of this NAP focused on compiling all known biological and threat data relative to these target species. With this information, 60 individuals, representing a range of national and international bodies, were able to construct 6 main goals and 100 specific actions to guide future conservation efforts. Compiled in 2010, the goals of this project include: maintaining, enlarging and connecting protected habitats, managing sloth populations (genetically and demograpically) to ensure their viability, reducing hunting pressures, ensuring scientific knowledge on taxa and threats remains up to date and pressuring for guidelines documented in this project to be reflected in national policy.