Slow loris

2015-07-09

Smuggling of endangered species, and voices from ex situ conservation facilities - in the case of conservation of slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus)

Akira Kato (Head of Public Awareness Section, Academic Division at Japan Monkey Centre (JMC))

As a result of addition of slow loris to Appendix I at CITES COP 14th in June of 2007, international commercial trade of the species had been prohibited.  In response to the implementation, Japan domestically designated it as an endangered species of the Japanese LCES in the following September.  Since then permit is required to capture, transport, or sell it, making slow loris trade very difficult and penalties more severe.

The decline of slow loris population is attributed to forest destruction.  While forest deforestation deteriorates environment, at the same time, it is the basis for local people livelihood and is hard to be stopped right away.

Neither importing nor exporting countries benefit from illegal trade.  Furthermore, the profit by illegal trade (poaching, smuggling, and illicit sale) fuel anti-social forces.  Thus slow loris smuggling is a serious problem.

JMC sheltered two slow lorises in 1999, 11 from Narita in 2006 and 34 in 2007.

Many slow lorises are found with their bones being broken or dislocated because they are crammed into small boxes or sacks.

To make wild lorises suitable as a pet, their teeth are cut off (de-fang) with a nipper.  The mutilation often causes severe infection.  Only in a few hours their heads swollen like a ball, resulting some individuals to die in the end.

A tool to catch slow lorises is a slingshot, which is commonly sold in a market and people use daily to shoot off nuts and fruits grew up too high in trees. Mud balls are used usually for throwballs to avoid damaging the target, the animal.

Small numbers of slow lorises are traded at the back of street markets and at pet shop stall in town.

This is very simple, lorises are traded because there are demands.  Therefore, trade can be stopped if people don’t want them.

As of 2013, 89 slow lorises are kept in zoos, more than one third of them are sheltered individuals.  Only 10 offspring are born from 89 individuals, showing the breeding of slow loris is very difficult.

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