29 May

Press Release: Slow Loris Awareness Month Talkshow

SLOW LORIS : LIVING SLOW, SLOWLY DECREASING

Efforts and Problems on Slow Loris Conservation

Slow Loris Awareness Month Talkshow by IFSA LC UGM in May 29th, 2015

Committee and Speakers of the Talkshow (Credit: Dini Novia)

Wildlife has been one of top priority in conservation field. It contain all animals living in danger because their numbers are decreasing from time to time, including the animal we will talk about. This animal is a nocturnal animal, so we can only find it when the night comes. It could be easily recognized by the unique gaze of the eyes. Classified as mammal, it is the only primate in this world able to produce poisonous venom. The toxin may be used as defense against predators, other same species, and parasites. Its proliferating behavior is kind of similar with human, they are able to bear only one child in one year after six months of pregnancy period. The finest habitat for this animal supposed to be the prime forest. This animal is known as slow loris.

Having the word ‘slow’ as part of their species name is not only explaining their living habits, but also describes their current status in the wild life. Slow loris’ ecological role is still unknown. Unconfirmed issue regarding the use of slow loris that is helping seed dissemination has never had specific provement yet. As for human, they hold the cuteness which make people like to keep them as pet, which consciously or not, has stepped over their conservation status through illegal trades.

There are five species of slow loris in this world, which three of them are living in Indonesian forests. IUCN categorize Javanese Slow Loris into the category of CR (Critical Endangered), the rest is also having the same problem. In Indonesia, kukang or slow loris conservation status written in the UU No. 7/1999, which said it is not yet included as under-protection animal. Penalty and punishment aren’t strong enough to prevent people from illegal trading. Those prove lack of effectiveness and efficiency on conservation law by the government. Seem like life aren’t taking it slow on slow lorises.

Badan Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam (BKSDA)—the Department of Natural Resources Conservation hasn’t give their maximum act while slow loris are getting rare to find in the forest because of deforestation, highly intensive illegal trades, and in short of researchers. Luckily, Mr. Muhammad Ali Imron (Wildlife Conservation Lecturer at Forestry Faculty, Universitas Gadjah Mada), with his two comrades from Wildlife Conservation Section in Forestry Faculty, Universitas Gadjah Mada, have been researching about slow loris illegal hunters in Java, Indonesia. They said that hunters are suspected outsiders, though it won’t slacken off local people’s involvement especially when slow loris in Java is believed to have magical influence. To support slow loris conservation, we should know why people hunt them. Reason could be socio-economic factor, and the solution itself may exist from the society. Researchers only act as facilitator, so it still needs help from other various perspective.

According to Mr. Ali, there are three things should be done to help slow loris conservation, which are: education, research, and dedication. YIARI (Yayasan International Animal Research Indonesia)—Indonesian branch of IAR, has been doing those three things mentioned above. Slow loris conservation has been one of their main focuses since its extinct rate is getting serious. They said that one of the causal factor of illegal trading are the existence of consument which could be worse when there are, by any chance, a huge community of slow loris owners or collectors. According to YIARI’s research, slow loris owners are surprisingly fulfilled these characteristics : young men (around 20-30 years old), living alone near Jakarta, well-educated, and mostly active on social media. On 2014, they added commitment and capability to buy and to take care of slow loris as another characteristic. The price varies in hundredthousands rupiahs. This is unexpected, where what possibly comes in our mind is someone around their late fourties or fifties with lots of money, collecting protected animals because of eccentric hobbies.

As for the conservation, YIARI use the method 3R+1M, which are Rescue, Rehabilitation, Release, and Monitoring. Rescue action carry out on the confiscated one that often found in critical condition such as scraggy, toothless, damaged eyes, with slugs all over body. Rehabilitation are needed before releasing it back to the wildlife. Slow loris could be released after putting detector/tracer on the neck, and they will be monitored for about one year.

As been said, life has been hard for slow loris. There are also heartbreaking videos about slow loris’ condition after being taken from the wild played during the Slow Loris Awareness Month Talkshow. The video showed how captured slow loris tried to protect their teeth from being cut. They crossed arms upon their head, screamed, and struggled, but the hunter keep doing. Despite breaking the law, that could be categorized as animal abuse. Also, there are still lack of data about slow loris, especially on their natural habitat.

Slow lorises are being captured illegally, abused, and they have slow reproduction period that makes them extinct if people still acts irresponsively. Slow loris conservation needs helps from everyone, youngsters are no exception. YIARI holds the program “Kukangku!” to promote slow loris conservation through social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram since most of slow loris owners are internet users. The role of youth could be done such as sharing this program, doing researches as many as possible because protection acts should be based from valid data. Making illegal trades as a serious threat, reporting any negative activities regarding slow loris at kukangku.org or other animal-protection-concerned departments, and educating people as many as possible related to slow loris issues are the simple ways to help.

Last but not least, congratulations for all the posters and essays winner of this Slow Loris Awareness Month competition! Wildlife belongs to their natural habitat, not on human residence. Let’s save the endangered cuteness!