ABOUT THE LITTLE FIREFACE PROJECT
Slow lorises are a unique group of primates found throughout South and Southeast Asia. Their vice-like grip, snake-like movements, shy nature, and most remarkably, their venomous bite, make them unique amongst the primates. They also are to many people undeniably adorable, and to others, nature’s answer to over 100 diseases. Their slow movements make them easy prey to expert hunters who literally empty the forests of these shy primates – amongst the most common mammals seen in Asia’s illegal animal markets, but amongst the rarest spotted even in Asia’s best protected forests.
The Little Fireface Project, named after the Sundanese word for loris, is the world’s longest running loris conservation project, started in 1993, under the auspices of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group of Oxford Brookes University. Our research was highlighted in the award winning 2012 film Jungle Gremlins of Java. We aim to save lorises from extinction through learning more about their ecology and using this information to educate local people and law enforcement officers, leading to empathy and empowerment whereby people in countries where lorises exist will want to save them for themselves. This is done through education, media, workshops and classroom programmes. Our education does not stop in range countries, but also reaches out to potential western purchasers of loris pets.
Monitoring fun with nature! - 29/11/2015
Environmental education is becoming an increasingly important subject in wildlife conservation. Without including the next generation into solving recent environmental issues and providing them with knowledge and skills on how to combat these problems, there is little chance to change our attitudes and behaviour towards saving our natural environment and therefore our resources. At LFP environmental education is an important part of loris’ conservation. Every Friday local kids from surrounding villages come to participate in ‘Nature Club’. Here, we use a playful approach to introduce young children (age 5-12) to complex topics like climate change, pollution and deforestation. We follow a three months curriculum and each lesson is carefully planned and combines small interactive lectures and games. In the past we have also visited multiple schools to give short lectures on lorises’ ecology and our conservation efforts. This ‘Forest Protector’ curriculum was our first evaluation system for environmental education. A school visit was repeated after six months and we tested how much the students remembered from our first visit using pictures and essays as an indicator. We are now in the process of establishing an education relationship with Situwangi Boarding School in Cikajang. The students here (age 13-18) are eager to learn English which gives us the great opportunity to teach our curriculum in English as well without relying on a translator.
To improve the education outcome and our teaching methods we are currently working on implementing a thorough monitoring and evaluation plan. The aim is to monthly monitor how different teaching techniques are adopted. The plan is to conduct an evaluation of the kid’s knowledge and attitudes towards the thematised topics after each curriculum. This way we hope to be able to tell which method contributes most to long term memory. With a coherently structured monitoring and evaluation system we also anticipate to be able to not only improve our environmental education system in place but also add to existing schemes for other organisations to use.
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