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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Slow lorises Canon and Chestnut return to freedom in the forest

Female slow loris Canon and baby Chestnut have been returned to their home in the rainforest less than a year after they were rescued from wildlife traffickers. The pair were among ten slow lorises to be released on Mount Sawal, West Java, on 1 August 2017.

All ten lorises were victims of the illegal pet trade but were confiscated by the police in Bandung, West Java in October 2016. The other four females and four males were named Starmoon, Logan, Jomblo, Moana, Lilo, Giv, Bowi and Wakai.

At the time of their rescue, our medical team described their condition as "heartbreaking". They were all suffering from stress and malnutrition. Some had bite wounds after being stuffed in small, cramped containers and having to fight for space and air. Some of the rescued animals were found to have bullet wounds and some still had pellets lodged in their bodies.

Canon had three pellets lodged behind her eye and in her head and back. However, happily, the little loris showed a strong will to survive and gave birth to a healthy baby just a few days after her rescue. Our veterinary team successfully removed all three bullets from Canon and gave mother and baby the expert treatment and care they needed to grow healthy and strong.

Vet Wendi Prameswari, Animal Welfare Manager at our primate rehabilitation centre in Bogor, West Java, explained that the medical team had worked hard to restore all ten lorises to health and ensure they are equipped with all the natural behaviours and skills they will need to survive in the wild.

“They have now completed the rehabilitation process and are ready to return to their natural home,” she added.

On Tuesday, 1 August we arrived at the offices of the Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA) in Ciamis. A large team consisting of members of staff from the BKSDA, environmentalists, college students, members of the local community, media and volunteers, then all trekked from the offices to the habituation cage on Mount Sawal.

The Head of the Centre for Conservation of Natural Resources in Ciamis, Himawan Sasongko, explained that everyone must work together to maintain the sustainability of loris habitats on Mount Sawal. “We must all play our part if we are to preserve this Critically Endangered primate species which is endemic to Indonesia,” said Himawan.

He added that the slow loris ecosystem serves to maintain the diversity of all native species in the region. Wild slow lorises also help to control pests in areas of crops and their surroundings.

After trekking for two to three hours to the habituation area, the team started to release the lorises one by one. At first Canon and Chestnut were shy and hesitant about coming out of the transportation crate but eventually they climbed slowly into the habituation enclosure. Then, after pausing for a while, Canon climbed up into the trees and Chestnut followed her.