Illegal trader in Indonesia is caught red-handed with nine Critically Endangered Javan slow lorises
Nine Javan slow lorises have been rescued in the nick of time from an illegal trader in Indonesia. The Critically Endangered primates were found to be suffering from injuries inflicted by their captor, as well as wounds sustained during their time in captivity. Some had had their teeth cut, while others had facial injuries after being packed tightly into a small box.
The trader was caught in possession of the nine lorises and a wreathed hornbill (julang emas) which it is believed was destined for China. He was apprehended by a Law Enforcement team from the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Kediri, East Java on 13 July. The police operation was prompted by information received from the public about the dealer’s presence on social media.
The Javan slow lorises, consisting of five males and four females, were given emergency treatment by our medical team from the primate rescue centre in Bogor, West Java is the only rehabilitation facility for slow lorises in Indonesia.
Veterinarian Dr Imam Arifin said: “The lorises are all suffering from stress, dehydration and hunger. Three of them have already had their teeth cut by the trader to make them easier to handle, while two others have friction wounds on their noses as a result of being packed together so tightly
“Four of the lorises had been crammed into a cardboard box which had been taped up as a parcel with some tiny airholes in the side. They had then been sent by delivery service on a train to Kediri. Packed together so tightly, with so little air and no food or water, it is a miracle that the poor creatures survived – and no wonder they are now so stressed and in such poor physical condition.”
Benny Bastiawan, Head of Law Enforcement for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Indonesian area of Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara Region, said: “The trader is currently still being questioned by investigators to try to gather more information from him about the network of illegal wildlife traders operating on social media.”
“He is alleged to have violated Law No. 5 of 1990 and Government Regulation Number 7 Year 1999 with the threat of imprisonment for a maximum of five years and a fine of not more than Rp. 100,000,000 - one hundred million rupiah,” Bastiawan added. ( Rp. 100,000,000 = £5760.)
Karmele Llano Sanchez, Programme Director, said: “Illegal hunting and trafficking for the pet trade are pushing the slow loris perilously close to extinction. As a result the Javan slow loris is now classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature.) Hundreds of these protected primates are sold each year in Indonesian pet markets and now also increasingly on social media. On average three slow lorises are taken from the wild each day to supply the illegal pet trade and of these, one is likely to die before it is even sold.
“If the species is to survive, it is vital that the trade is stamped out. It causes immeasurable suffering to individual lorises and poses a grave threat to the survival of the species as a whole. The latest confiscation must send out a strong and urgent message to traffickers and to potential buyers that slow lorises must not be captured, sold or kept as pets, and that the consequences for continuing to trade in them will be severe.”