Slow Loris Rehabilitation
Lorises being nocturnal, arboreal and solitary primates makes the process of rehabilitation challenging. Lorises that are rescued, surrendered or confiscated generally suffer from health and dental problems. Certain individuals also develop behavioural issues and display stereotypic behaviour due to the stressful situations that they have undergone from being hunted, traded in pet markets and kept as pets in confined spaces for a long period of time.
On entering our centre, the loris undergoes a thorough medical check, blood and fecal tests and morphometric analysis. If found to be fit, they are housed under quarantine for six weeks before moving them to the rehabilitation enclosures. Lorises that come in that require medical attention are kept at the clinic and attended to regularly till seen fit for quarantine. At this stage, dental extractions are conducted for lorises who develop infections due to teeth clipping that is done during their purchase from traders, air gun bullets are surgically removed, broken limbs are attended to through routine x-rays and medical care and other infections/diseases are also treated medically.
With the completion of the quarantine period, the lorises are moved to rehabilitation enclosures at the centre. IAR currently has 107 enclosures, where lorises are housed individually, in pairs or sometimes up to three individuals depending on the fluctuations in the number of lorises received as a result of our law enforcement activities to mitigate their illegal trade. A special diet consisting of high fibre vegetables, gum (from Acacia sp.) and insects are provided to lorises to control problems of obesity and calcium deficiency usually noticed in lorises on a high glucose diet. During this process, behavioural and feeding data is collected on each of the lorises through which we are able to evaluate which lorises require special attention due to a lack of food intake or due to high stereotypic behaviours exhibited.
The enclosures are divided into 4 groups; quarantine for new animals that have passed the preliminary health check, sanctuary enclosures for lorises that cannot be released due to the absence of teeth (clipped during their trade), pre-release enclosures for lorises that are scheduled to be reintroduced into their natural habitat and individuals cages for lorises still under rehabilitation for subsequent release. All the enclosures are fitted with locomotory enrichment such as rubber ropes, creepers and trees; suspended feeding trays made out natural material (Bamboo), and sleeping boxes. In addition, the roofs of only the pre-release enclosures are left un-covered to give the lorises an opportunity to experience and adapt to natural weather conditions before translocating them to the wild.
As rehabilitation for lorises is very complex owing to their nocturnal nature and dearth of information regarding their behavioural repertoire in captive conditions and survival rates in the wild, IAR constantly evaluates and improves the methods taking into account existing literature and our success and failures in past efforts. With every release, we hope that the process of rehabilitation at our centre, equips them for long-term survival in the wild.