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 Post subject: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 5:50 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
No, it's not a snake. But at least it's venomous (Yep. That's right - venomous. Read on.) And yes, I know, there's a mammal forum. But I beg for forgiveness, as I want to use this platform to bring to your attention the fact that the immense cuteness of this animal spells its doom: Viral Videos May Bring Quick End to Slow Loris.

But apart from out-cuting Hello Kitty by miles, it's also the world's only venomous primate, sporting poisonous elbows and an absolutely vicious bite that, if applied to a human finger, can go right through the finger, nail and all.

We found this one in a tiny, dirty cage on the sun-blasted porch of a very poor village close to the Indonesian border. I bought the Loris from them for less than thirty USD, and probably could have had it for half. We smuggled it - cage and all - into the resort where we were staying that night and released it upon our return to Kuching two days later.

Still, crazy cute...

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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 7:02 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:14 pm
Posts: 1018
Location: Pacific Northwest
Very awesome. Our zoo had a slow loris on display in the nocturnal exhibit for a long time, until they closed it down.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 9:06 am 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Posts: 970
As awesome as the slow loris is and as much as I would have hated leaving it, I have to question the wisdom behind releasing an animal from captivity back into the wild without a lengthy quarantine and without knowing its background (where it came from, how long its been in captivity, etc..). At worst it could introduce some sort of pathogen into a population but more likely the animal will be at a tremendous disadvantage in an area it is not familiar with. I'm not criticizing, just voicing my thoughts on the matter that reintroduction efforts should be left to the professionals.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 9:50 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:07 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
That's a pretty nice looking animal. It doesn't look like it spent much time in a cage. The other negative aspect is that buying a Slow Loris, even with the intention of releasing it, creates demand. You also payed the foreigner price, which may lead its former captors to believe that there is a lucrative business in selling Slow Loris to foreign tourists. The ideal course of action is to find someone who can confiscate and rehabilitate the animal. I realize that is near impossible in SE Asia, and even if it is confiscated it may still receive poor care. I'm not sure what I would have done in your place.


Curtis


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 12:14 pm 

Joined: November 4th, 2010, 2:43 pm
Posts: 546
Indeed, a difficult ethical dilemma... but damn that is adorable!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 4:18 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks for your thoughts, guys!

Quote:
It doesn't look like it spent much time in a cage.

Maybe it doesn't come out in the pictures, but that thing was skinny and famished. It ate an entire banana the first day, then another the second.

As to the ethical dilemmas:

1. Creating Demand: the thought crossed my mind, but the place where we found it is completely off the tourist track. We were most likely the only foreigners who went there this year. So, no demand creation possible. Also, people here eat lorises, and this one might well have faced that very fate once the kids got bored with it.

To give you some reference, here are two photos of the dwelling where we found it. Pretty harsh conditions for man and beast, even for Sarawak
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2. Involving Authorities: fuhgeddabout it. I went to Sarawak Forestry HQ on Monday and asked the Kuching Division boss about such a - hypothetical - situation. He beamed "oh, we have a wildlife rescue hotline! let me give you the number!". Then he produced a scrap of paper with a handwritten cell phone number: "This is Mr. XYZ. He's in charge of wildlife rescue in the Kuching Division. You can call him any time!" Right. By the time poor Mr. XYZ has dragged his cadaver out of bed, the wildlife in question has already been digested. And don't even think about the local cops.

3. Pathogens: You're right. The sellers told us where it was from, but not how long it had been in that cage. The only thing we knew is that it was close enough to the release area to constitute the same subspecies (Borneo's lorises are currently be re--taxonomized)

Ideally, I should have called the authorities. But anyone who's ever spent more than three weeks in South-east Asia knows how much good that does. And the few folks that really care - a handful of individuals at Sarawak Forestry - are swamped with cases and red tape.

Damned if I did, and damned if I didn't..


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 7:31 pm 

Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:21 pm
Posts: 33
Excellent post!!
Slender and slow loris are my fave prosimians.
Thanks and great photos!!
Not to worry....you'll rarely win any ethical debate here no matter what decision you made in the field.
Kenny s


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 30th, 2012, 8:16 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:07 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
Looks like you had the ethics sorted out without our help. They certainly are cool mammals.








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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 6:10 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:17 am
Posts: 136
Hi Hans,

I'm just going to say it, good job setting the cute fellow free :thumb: ! I know what people are trying to say. For this scenario I feel that setting the loris free was the right thing to do, but hey, ethics is relativist, otherwise we wouldn't even be here discussing it! I've had my own cases, similar to yours. I didn't really care about critisicm, i'd rather take the risk (also for the animal) and release it, then leave it to die in a cage/drain whatever is the case.

They say herping is uneventful on a night with full moon. Better stay in bed? Nah, go out. herp. you have a bigger chance of seeing a coral snake in the forest then in your bed, even on a full moon night :thumb: . Same applied for the previous scenario.

I would also say that of course it is possible for the slow loris to be carrying a pathogen - it at least looks pretty healthy from the outside (no eye infections or anything or open cuts et cetera, but hey im not a vet so correct me if im wrong!). It is highly likely that the slow loris was caught locally. I mean, enough can be said from the living conditions - these are probably not people who import there loris from elsewhere (no disrespect towards these people intended). Could the loris still have a disease, maybe even one that he got from people? I guess. But hey, that's an endless argument. Again, i support the release.

Thanks for that post :) !


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: October 31st, 2012, 7:15 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:14 pm
Posts: 3297
Location: San Antonio, TX
I agree about the decision viscerally, but also agree about the problems it presents. I think you probably save a Loris' life and I doubt you threatened the wild population. Where you were it had probably not been caged very long. It would have ended up in a cramped cage in Kucing if you had left it there.

One of my pervasive (unpleasant) memories of my time in East Kalimantan is the people showing up in our neighborhood with slow lorises tied to a long pole for sale as pets. The animals looked miserable and I'm sure they suffered terrible deaths. The other thing that would show up at our door (they would knock hoping to sell their critter to you) were young Gibbons and even baby Orang. I'm no bunny hugger, but that was really hard to see.

And although it was heartbreaking to see these little baby primates, I knew that if I bought them I couldn't free them (they were too young), I couldn't find them a home, and the guy would just go out and catch another.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: November 1st, 2012, 6:32 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:17 am
Posts: 136
Quote:
And although it was heartbreaking to see these little baby primates, I knew that if I bought them I couldn't free them (they were too young), I couldn't find them a home, and the guy would just go out and catch another.


Yep, well said, especially that last part. Sometimes you just don't know what to do :( ! The purchase of such animals, is as you said, an indirect way of supporting the poaching industry (at least where the people selling you the animals are actual poachers... In Hans's case they seemed more like people who did not catch the loris with the intention to sell it [no tourism/visitors to the area as Hans said]).

I think we could compile a whole book just listing all the seperate ethical arguments related to this topic.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 6:17 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks for the lively discussion, guys - I'm learning a lot here!

DavidG wrote:
I think we could compile a whole book just listing all the seperate ethical arguments related to this topic.

Damn straight we could. But when we're done, I'll introduce one visual argument that will render them all null and void: this image of the little guy in his makeshift dungeon made from a split fan cage and a roll of chicken wire. An image that immediately saturated the brain with irrational sentiments and made it utterly impossible to think of the proper thing to do.
Heart versus mind - mankind's oldest and hardest struggle...
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PS: In spite of all of the above, please don't think of me as a panda hugger: I'd have done the same for a Russel's Viper or a giant centipede :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 6:21 am 

Joined: November 4th, 2010, 2:43 pm
Posts: 546
Oh man, that pic. No doubt I'd want to do the same thing.


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