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Slow Loris Rescue & Rehabilitation
We primarily rescues lorises from pet owners and are authorised to carry out such operations by the local law enforcement authorities. Our team is alerted by the BKSDA (Nature Conservation Agency of Indonesia) and loris pet owners through our online ‘surrender your loris’ portal. Once the centre receives information, the rescue team immediately arrives at the location. Upon seeing the loris, the situation and condition of the loris is assessed - those that have not been in captivity for too long may be eligible for release relatively soon.
Lorises in worse condition, or who've been in captivity for longer, are brought to our centre to start a process of rehabilitation. On entering our centre, the loris undergoes a thorough medical check and then a period of quarantine which lasts a minimum of six weeks, before moving into a rehabilitation enclosure. Our centre has over 100 enclosures, each housing one, two or even three lorises depending on the current occupancy. The lorises are fed a special diet consisting of high fibre vegetables, gum and insects. All the enclosures are fitted with locomotory enrichment such as rubber ropes, creepers and trees; suspended feeding trays made out of bamboo, and sleeping boxes.
One of the main threats to loris populations in Indonesia, forcing their numbers in the wild to decline rapidly is the rampant illegal pet trade. In 2011, we established a multi-disciplinary team designed to tackle the illegal trade in slow lorises. We use a multi-dimensional approach to understand trade networks focusing on profiling pet owners, physical markets and online trade monitoring, identifying hunting hotspots and profiling hunters, awareness and education activities targeting different social demographics involved in the trade, and finally increasing the capacity of law enforcement and government officials.
We have witnessed several successes in law enforcement operations undertaken, of which the major ones resulted in prosecutions of perpetrators and a large number of lorises confiscated. From 2013 to 2016, we conducted law enforcement activities in West Java, Sumatra and West Kalimantan together with the Indonesian authorities resulting in 11 seizures of 447 slow lorises and 19 individual arrests of traders as well as members of a slow loris pet lover group and a trade syndicate. Law enforcement work to mitigate the trade is always on-going due to the extent and complexity of trade networks involved.
Education activities are vital in creating an impact on people’s perceptions about conservation issues. As different social demographics are involved in slow loris conservation, such as buyers, traders, hunters and people in edge habitat areas where releases are conducted, we implement different approaches to educate and create awareness. Some of these include an online platform that targets potential buyer and pet owners, awareness campaigns in public spaces, education programmes in schools and for adults around forests areas used for releases and workshops and seminars conducted at Universities in Indonesia.
Our online platform has shown great success where pet owners who are asked to take down posts of lorises as pets have responded positively, decreasing the viewership of such posts. In addition, many loris pet owners have also surrendered their pets to the centre on learning that keeping lorises as pets is illegal through our online posts.