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.
Waking up happy - 03/10/2015
For a month now, the West Javan village of Cipaganti has been what I call home. With Cipaganti situated on the side of a mountain, trapped between paddy fields and a bamboo jungle, the aesthetics are simply incredible. The visual beauty of this place, however, isn’t its one and only quality. Since I arrived, I have been overwhelmed with the sense of community that litters this village. Everywhere you walk, someone will be there to greet you, ‘Hello Mister! How are you?’, and these greetings will even be fired at you when you are whizzing past them at 20mph on an Ojek (motorbike).
Rumah Hijau provides a popular drawing club every Tuesday afternoon where a number of the younger members of the village come and prove their artistic skills. It’s a great time for me to learn some basic Indonesian and the children to get involved with the project. Currently the children only seem interested in drawing houses surrounded by mountains, however I have made it my aim to try and add some zoological flare to their art. While on the subject of art, I was fortunate to have a little wonder to Amank’s house, the gent responsible for all the LFP woodwork, and had a little tour of his carpentry studio (when I say studio, it was in actual fact just a section of his living room). He has an incredible talent, and I am planning to place a little order in the near future.
The mosque grounds provide not only an arena for the relentless praying from dawn until dusk, but it also plays host to the daily barefoot ‘playground rules’ football matches, of which I am more than keen to participate in when possible. My footballing career took a step up from the ‘playground rules’ last Friday where I donned a Cipaganti FC shirt and secured a second half goal for the Men’s B team. The England flag that I provided was flying high for the duration of my performance thanks to some enthusiastic locals.
The rural life may be the polar opposite from the Cardiff city life I’m used to, but waking up each morning to these views and these people, I know I’m going to be a very content man for the next 8 months.
- Dan Geerah, volunteer at LFP
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