By Dave Armstrong
We have adjusted, if that is possible, to losing species of animals and plants every day through human expansion. However, the pet trade is one in which we have no excuse for adjusting to at all.
Lemurs and Bush-baby species have a relative known as the slow loris. Species of the slow loris (Nycticebus) are captured by poachers in Indonesia, despite protection laws. There are only five species, with one resident in Sunda and one in Java. Despite $10,000 fines and 5 years in prison, poachers who capture slow lorises for the illegal pet trade remain undeterred. Slow loris poaching is more difficult to check and police compared to tigers and orangs.
International Animal Rescue (IAR) are striving to prevent loris poaching, despite the nocturnal hunters, the small size and easy transportation of lorises to points of sale. You can hear directly from vets Sharmini Julita Paramasivam or Silje Robertson at their blog:
The malu-malu or "shy one," doesn't make a good pet and it's venomous, but its attraction still works and the criminals behind the trade cut out (de-fang) the poisonous teeth using pliers or clippers. Often this causes trauma, needing specialist care, death and of course, the loris cannot feed itself in the wild.
The first attempt at rehabilitation for two of these "pets" rescued by IAR was the "Marta and Willis" radio collar release. After 2 years, the two lorises can still be traced sleeping with wild loris and grooming each other.
Socially, rehabilitation seems to be a success if your teeth are intact. Sadly, that is not possible for 76% of the loris in captivity. Mount Salak National Park in West Java has been chosen for releases, partly because it's just so damned difficult to get there and partly because it's within the natural range of the species. Willis has got himself a partner as well, Marta, for whom the patter of tiny paws is eagerly anticipated. They are also an extra advertisement for the lush green forests of Java that are so much loved for their ecology. More....