May 2017 saw a record number of slow lorises released back into the wild following a huge rescue and rehabilitation project.
Wildlife Officials and International Animal Rescue seized 30 slow lorises from illegal animal traffickers after uncovering a huge network of illegal traders on social media.
Heartbreakingly, the lorises were in a terrible condition by the time they were found. Some had already had their teeth clipped and were hugely distressed having been packed into small, cramped cages.
Nur Purba Priambada, the Veterinary Coordinator at IAR’s Primate Rehabilitation Centre said, ‘several of them have wounds, probably from bites after being crammed together in small crates and they are all extremely stressed.’
Despite the fact that owning and trafficking slow lorises is illegal in Indonesia, the pet trade sadly continues to thrive on social media.
After they are torn from their natural habitat, the lorises are sold to dealers for around £3 each before being traded as pets for between £13 and £30.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, experts estimate that 30% of slow lorises that are captured from the wild die from stress, dehydration or other injuries before they can be sold into the pet trade.
Because of the devastating impact this trade has had on their numbers, as well as loss of habitat, slow lorises are now listed as one of the most critically endangered primates in the world. It is heartbreaking statistics such as this that make mass releases such as this one all the more important.
After months of rehabilitation, International Rescue released 18 females and 12 males into the Mount Ciremai National Park in West Java on 11th May 2017.
The team will now track these slow lorises for the next year to gather data on their movements and ensure that they are settling into a life of freedom in the forest.
Fingers crossed they enjoy a safe, and happy future in their new home!
Watch the video above to see their emotional release into the wild for yourself.