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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Eight endangered slow lorises returned to the forest

One year on from the launch of Tickling is Torture, our hugely successful social media campaign to stop the keeping of slow lorises as pets, our team in Indonesia continues to release rehabilitated lorises into the wild. The latest release involved eight slow lorises that were released into the Protected Forest of Batutegi, Tanggamus District, Lampung. They had been confiscated by the Forest Department (Conservation of Natural Resources) in Serang, Banten Province in Western Java in September 2015. The group consisted of four males (Tamper, Tyson, Armstrong and Partos) and four females (Poppy, Cute, Willi and Dandelion.)

The small nocturnal primates were taken into the care of our primate rehabilitation centre in Bogor. After undergoing a series of medical examinations and a period in quarantine, their rehabilitation began.  The lorises’ behaviour, health and eating habits were kept under constant observation and meticulously recorded by the staff at our centre to ensure they were gradually returning to their natural wild state.

 ​“Based on the latest medical examinations, the health of the slow lorises is improving all the time, with no signs that they are carrying any diseases. The condition of their teeth and bones is also good,” said Dr Wendi Prameswari, Animal Care Manager at the centre. “The lorises are already displaying naturally wild behaviour so they are ready to progress to the next phase which is to be released into their natural habitat.”

Dr Prameswari explained that it usually takes considerable time to rehabilitate primates that have been victims of illegal trade. Most rescued slow lorises suffer from serious conditions such as dehydration and malnutrition, as well as high levels of stress that have sometimes been exacerbated by having their teeth cut off. “Our vet who specialises in tooth repair is often able to fill the broken teeth so that the lorises can be released into the wild and are still able to forage and fend for themselves,” she said.

The first stage of the release process involved moving the lorises to a habituation cage set up in Batutegi Forest. This temporary home is an enclosed area of the forest containing a variety of trees to provide the lorises with food and shelter. They spend about a month in the habituation cage, adapting to their new natural habitat and foraging for their own fresh food.

Bobby Muhidin, Coordinator of Survey Release Monitoring (SRM), said that his team will continue to monitor the slow lorises while they were in the habituation cage. “If they display positive behaviours—such as finding their own food, adapting to their wild environment and generally thriving—then we can release them,” he explains.

A radio collar is fastened around the neck of each slow loris so that it can be monitored post-release. “Its function is to emit signals which are captured by a receiver and this notifies us of the lorises’ whereabouts in the wild,” Bobby adds. “Our team will monitor the lorises for about a year so that we can gather valuable information about their behavioural development.”