Amazing Moment 20 Slow Lorises Are Released Into The Wild For The First Time

Twenty endangered Javan slow lorises have enjoyed their first tastes of freedom - ever - after living for years as pets.

The slow lorises have started a new life in a conservation forest, in West Java, after being surrendered by their owners to the Conservation of Natural Resources Department (BBKSDA), between 2015 and 2018.

The adorable creatures were selected for release into their natural habitat after passing a series of medical exams and undergoing rehabilitation at the International Animal Rescue (IAR) primate centre at the base of Mount Salak in Ciapus, Bogor, West Java.

Credit: International Animal Rescue:
Credit: International Animal Rescue:

In the group of 20 there are seven males and 13 females - the little cuties even have their own names: Iik, Colek, Merdeka, Najuna, Airin, Mojang, Jajaka, Haq, Gimbul, Tako, Zwitsal, Dove, Zohri, Yuna, Sari and Itih.

In the little group there are also two mother and infant pairs, namely Lia-Lio and Petra-Petri, which gives cause to be optimistic about the future of the species.

Nur PurbaPriambada, IAR medical supervisor, in Bogor, West Javasaid: "They have all undergone a long rehabilitation process involving quarantine, medical examinations, behavioural observations and environmental enrichment.

"After being declared healthy, they were ready to be translocated and start habituation in a pre-surveyed location."

Credit: International Animal Rescue
Credit: International Animal Rescue

When they arrive at the centre it was obvious the slow lorises had been starved of the correct treatment and care.

Most of the endangered primates were suffering from stress, trauma and malnutrition - which had altered their normal behavioural patterns.

Purba explained that the rehabilitation process was carried out to reinforce the animals' natural wild behaviours.

Once the group had completed the rehabilitation period, they were moved to the Masigit-Kareumbi Conservation Forest Area in Bandung.

Credit: International Animal Rescue
Credit: International Animal Rescue

At the forest area they were placed in an open-topped habitat to help recover from the potential stress caused by transportation, and to give them an opportunity to adapt to their new wild environment.

At the release site, where the slow lorises will be free to live in the wild, enclosures have been put in place using net walls to help them adapt to the wildlife environment.

Their wild enclosure includes loads of space with a good diversity of trees and plants to provide natural food sources for them.

There they will spend between two and four weeks there until they show signs of having adapted to the new environment.

Credit: International Animal Rescue
Credit: International Animal Rescue

Purba explained: "While undergoing habituation, the team in the field will continue to observe and record the development of the lorises' behaviours every night.

"If, during the habituation period, all the lorises are active and there is no abnormal behaviour, then they can be released into the wild."

Memen Suparman, Head of the Conservation of Natural Resources Department, Region II Soreang, West Java, said the slow loris conservation programme in the Masigit-Kareumbi Conservation Forest Area was part of the collaboration between BBKSDA West Java and IAR Indonesia.

Credit: International Animal Rescue
Credit: International Animal Rescue

"This programme is just one of the efforts to support the ongoing ecological processes in the region, as well as maintaining and contributing to the population of endemic primates whose numbers are rapidly declining," he said.

The conservation area is a perfect ecosystem for the preservation and protection of the lorises and has an area of approximately 12,420 hectares for the little guys to roam.

IAR Indonesia and BBKSDA completed a survery on the area and revealed it has good potential in terms of protection and security, availability of food, good canopy cover and water - as all are important components of suitable habitat for the lorises.

Credit: International Animal Rescue
Credit: International Animal Rescue

Memen said: "Not only IAR and BBKSDA teams are involved in this programme.

"We also involve local communities around the area in the slow loris conservation programme, in activities such as translocation and post-release monitoring.

"This involvement is a vital part of long-term efforts to protect slow lorises from the various threats they face."

It is a sad fact that slow lorises are just one of many types of primates that are often kept as pets - however, if they're kept in captivity they can eventually die due to the torture they endure from compromised welfare they experience when being passed through channels of illegal trade.

Credit: International Animal Rescue
Credit: International Animal Rescue

Robithotul Huda, Programme Manager at IAR Indonesia in Bogor said: "Based on the economic principles of supply and demand, buying a loris as a pet contributes directly to fuelling the illegal trade.

"Therefore, hunting will continue as long as there is a demand. For this reason, we strongly urge the public never to buy or keep slow lorises as pets, because it is synonymous with exploiting them."

For those attempting to help the little primates it is much harder to reintroduce them into the wild than it is to capture or hunt them in the first place.

Credit: International Animal Rescue
Credit: International Animal Rescue

The process often requires a lot of effort and funding to ensure each individual loris is ready to be released into the wild

Huda continued: "The process and stages are also time intensive and have to be in accordance with strict operational procedures.

"In addition, habitat assessment at release sites, habituation, post-release monitoring to ensure adaptation and long-term survival, are processes that must be followed rigorously to give the lorises the best chance of thriving back in the forest."

Featured Image Credit: International Animal Rescue

Rachael Grealish

Rachael is journalist from West Cumbria, recently moved to Manchester for an exciting opportunity at LADbible. She used to work as an editor of a small newspaper, in Cumbria. Outside of work Rachael loves plenty of coffee, running and reading.

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