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by: Alicia Graef
On Friday, 19 critically endangered slow lorises were rescued from an online trader.
According to Achmad Pribadi, the Head of the Sub-Directorate for the Protection and Security of Forests, his group received information about an online trader selling protected wildlife who was living in Cirebon, West Java, and took immediate action. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Directorate General for Law Enforcement, Sub-Directorate for the Protection and Security of Forests and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Indonesia, one arrest was made and 19 slow lorises were confiscated.
After hearing about the incident, a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) immediately came to help .In all, there were 16 adults, two juveniles and one newborn. An initial medical exam found they were in mostly good condition, but they were dehydrated, and some of them were also suffering from eye infections. Sadly, the newborn didn’t survive. They were taken to IAR’s rescue and rehabilitation center in Ciapus, West Java, where they will get the care they need until they’re ready to be released.
“The results of the medical health checks show that the animals are all in good body condition and their teeth hadn’t yet been damaged. All individuals show very wild behaviours which suggests that they have been recently caught and have not spent a long time in captivity. We hope that these animals can be returned to the wild, where they belong, as soon as possible,” said Dr. Wendi Prameswari.
It’s hoped that this incident will help raise awareness about the plight of slow lorises, and will send a strong message that wildlife trafficking won’t be tolerated.
“Slow lorises have been recognised as threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which is the most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species. If we don’t take immediate action to combat the illegal trade in slow lorises, they could disappear within the next five years,” said Achmad Pribadi, Head of the Sub-Directorate for the Protection and Security of Forests.
Hopefully the survivors will all fully recover from this unfortunate ordeal, and will be returned to their homes in the wild. For Javan slow lorises, who are listed as Critically Endangered, every life is incredibly valuable.
Unfortunately, the demand for them continues to put their future survival at risk, and captivity itself has led to a lot of cruelty. As IAR has previously pointed out, these shy, nocturnal animals are easily stressed and endure a number of heartbreaking abuses. After being torn from their homes, some lorises in captivity are fed inappropriate diets, and others have their teeth crudely clipped or broken off without anesthesia to make them defenseless, which often leads to infection and death.
Still more concerning is the ultimate toll the trade in slow lorises is taking on both individuals and the species as a whole.
“Usually mortality rate of confiscated lorises is high,” said Christine Rattel, Programme Advisor at IAR Indonesia.“Up to 80% of lorises captured from the wild do not even make it to the markets or the buyers, which means that for one slow loris that someone might buy illegally and keep as a pet, four more will have died in the process.”
While animal advocates and officials continue to work toward stopping the trade in slow lorises, hundreds of them continue to be confiscated every year. Just a day after the 19 were saved, another eight were confiscated by officials elsewhere in West Java. Hopefully campaigns to help educate the public about the wildlife trade and the plight of slow lorises will bring this trade to an end.
Photo credit: International Animal Rescue