This week a man brought two very young and weak infant Bengal slow lorises (Nycticebus bengalensis) into the WFFT Widlife Rescue Centre. He had heard about these animals being sold to Japanese tourists who had planned to illegally smuggle them to Japan and keep them as pets. They were purchased from Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, this is one of the largest weekend markets in the world and is well know for its involvement in the illegal wildlife trade. The man managed to convince the Japanese tourists to hand over the animals who were then brought to the WFFT Wildlife Rescue Centre.
Upon arrival the poor little lorises were in a terrible state – weak, tired and lifeless. They were given a health check and their first meal in some time. Sadly a few hours later the weaker one died. This is what happens when wild animals are stolen from their natural habitat; Especially babies! After capture they may spend days without any food or water before being sold. The number of animals that perish in transit before entering the illegal wildlife trade is immeasurable.
The Bengal Slow Loris is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is due to loss of habitat and severe pressures from hunting, there is more than 30% reduction in population over three generations. The species is predicted to decline by more than 30% in the next three generations over its entire range due to continuing hunting pressures and loss of habitat. The major threats that this species’ habitat faces include farming, timber removal, human settlement, road building, dams, power lines, fragmentations, soil loss and erosion, and deliberately set fires. They are hunted and traded for food, traditional “medicine”, and as pets.
We have named the surviving loris ‘Miss Piggy’ to keep with our current name theme of the ‘Muppets’ (we have another loris named Kermit). The quantity of slow loris infants we have seen brought into WFFT over the last few months is alarming. At least these rescued lorises have a brighter future than their cousins who end up in peoples houses or worse on a dinner plate. Will keep you updated on Miss Piggies progress. They are not toys or pets, Help us Keep Wildlife Wild. If you witness any animals being sold illegally here in Thailand or anywhere, please report it to the relevant authorities and ourselves.