Slow Loris Release
The aim of reintroducing lorises is to release as many suitable individuals confiscated from the trade back into their natural habitat where the carrying capacity of the area is low in density of lorises, to reinforce dwindling wild populations and to avoid inbreeding.
All our releases are conducted in accordance with the IUCN Guidelines for Reintroductions and are released into suitable habitats that are protected, where lorises are potentially not at risk from external/anthropogenic threats.
The reintroduction process differs depending on the nature of the rescue; if the loris is wild caught and surrendered by communities living around loris habitat areas, they are immediately translocated to the forests after a preliminary medical check by our field vets. These lorises are not monitored as they are still considerably wild.
However, a loris previously owned as a pet or confiscated from the trade undergoes a soft release process. This process involves translocating lorises which are fitted with VHF radio collars and are deemed fit for release, from the centre to the release site, and housed in open-top habituation enclosures, where they are given the opportunity to forage and feed on wild food sources and adapt to weather conditions of the release location for a minimum period of two weeks. Routine behavioural observations are made and their health condition is checked on a daily basis by the field team called the Survey Release and Monitoring team (SRM).
Lorises that show signs of good adaptation with respect to foraging and feeding on wild food sources, adequate grooming behaviour, not frequently seen on the ground, are released from the habituation and monitoring immediately commences. Lorises fitted with collars are monitored for a minimum period of three months. Behavioural data are collected through five-minute focal animal scans and GPS points are taken to record loris movements to ensure they are surviving in the wild conditions, adapting to and exhibiting close to wild behaviours, determine how and when they socialise with wild conspecifics. Data is also collected on the phenology of the vegetation in loris home-ranges to evaluate the effect of seasonality on the food sources of lorises.
In both cases, it is important that habitat surveys are conducted to determine a suitable release site for lorises based on factors such as; an existing wild population of lorises that is still small enough to cope with additional individuals, adequate food sources and habitat connectivity. It is also crucial that the habitat is protected, free of any external threats and our programmes must have the support of the local people living around the release site. While the political and social context of Indonesia means there are always threats to natural forests, IAR has conducted extensive surveys in the last few years and now release and translocate lorises in protected forests on three islands – Java (west), Sumatra (south) and Kalimantan (west) pertaining to the species of lorises. Currently we have three locations for releases; Gunung Sawal Wildlife Reserve (West java), Batutegi Protected Forest (Lampung, Sumatra) and Gunung Tarak Nature Reserve (West Kalimantan).
When a monitored loris seems to have well adapted to its surroundings, seen socialising with wild conspecifics and has formed core areas in a definite home-range area, the collar is cut off and monitoring is terminated.
During the entire process of release, if a loris is seen to be suffering from an illness or is wounded, the SRM team staff assess the lorises conditions with inputs from the veterinarians, and depending on the severity, the lorises are medically treated in the field or brought back to the centre for special care.