Category Archives: Illegal Wildlife Trade

Tackling Wildlife Trade

Abdullah’s Blog


About 75 km to the southeast of the capital city of West Java lies a town with lots of panoramic views. Beaches, volcanoes, hot springs, and other beautiful landscapes can be found easily here. No wonder people call Garut as Swiss van Java. A piece of Switzerland lies in Java.

Every Thursday, I take a project motorbike to go down the hill to the center of Garut for market surveys.  The town has two bird markets, Kerkoff and Mawar bird market. They are not far from each other. Kerkoff is more like a bunch of fragmented bird shops, the shops are separated by a big river of Cimanuk. There are 6-7 shops I visit in Kerkoff market. The market has been undergoing some changes over the time such as shop closing down or new shop open. While Mawar market consists of lining bird shops, and behind this, lies the traditional market. Kerkoff is usually busier with birdkeepers than Mawar as its provide more bird species and more number of individuals offered. There is one shop in Kerkoff market that sometimes they sell Mammals such as palm civets, leopard cats, etc. Luckily I never saw slow loris sold there.

A glimpse of a shop in kerkoff market

Continue reading Tackling Wildlife Trade

Sapphire’s Experience in Cipaganti

Left: Top – Tracker Yiyi, Saphy, Tracker Adin, Middle – Lala, Saphy, Aim and Ida (all volunteers), Bottom – Ella (FSC), Abdullah (Wildlife Trade Officer), Saphy, Ben, Imanol (volunteers) and Hélène (Research Co-ordinator) Right: Top – Wita (LFP Teacher) and Saphy, Bottom – Saphy, Ben, Tracker Aconk and Tracker Yiyi.

 

HAPPY HO-LORISIDAES!

It’s the holiday season here at LFP and it’s a time to celebrate and conserve simultaneously. I’m Sapphire and I apologise for my awful pun in the title! I have now been in Cipaganti for almost four months helping with day shifts, night follows, starting my project on loris bridges, teaching English and learning Indonesian in Garut and helping to sort the camera trap data! As I haven’t written a blog in a few months I thought I’d go hardcore and go through what I’ve been up to and hopefully inspire some of you to spread awareness for the project and its plight, but also to come and volunteer in a place like this! So I hope you enjoy what I have to say. Continue reading Sapphire’s Experience in Cipaganti

Aim’s Great Experiences with Birds and Javan Slow Loris at the Little Fireface Project

Hi there, I am Zulaima Rakhmatiar. but my friends just call me Aim. I’m from Yogyakarta, Indonesia and I study at the faculty of Forestry at Universitas Gadjah Mada Yogyakarta. My studies focus on wildlife, especially birds. I am currently a volunteer at LFP and I have a project about interactions between Javan Slow Loris (Nycticebus javanicus) with birds. This is my primary research for my undergraduate thesis. In Cipaganti, Garut there is a lot of farm and agroforestry. In Sundanese (the native language of West Java) agroforestry is called “Talun”. The Javan Slow Loris currently must live in this changed habitat. Farmers plant many vegetables like cabbages, pumpkins (in Indonesian called Labu Siam), tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes etc. In Cipaganti there are a lot of tea gardens too. At the edge of the gardens there are certain tree species including: Kayu Putih (Eucalyptus sp.), Suren (Toona sureni), Avocado (Persea americana), Kayu Angin (Casuarina junghuniana), Bamboo and more. Continue reading Aim’s Great Experiences with Birds and Javan Slow Loris at the Little Fireface Project

Dr Slow Loris Got It!

 At the Little Fireface Project, we are delighted to premiere Kana Kawanishi​’s book Dr slow loris got it! during SLOW 2017. Kana Kawanishi is a student of Yokohama International School. She chose to research on illegal trafficking of slow loris as a topic for her Personal Project. Japan is known to be the world’s biggest market for slow lorises and social media has a huge influence on this problem. This is why she made a picture book for children to give them prior knowledge about illegal animal trading before getting influenced by social media. The book was printed in Yokohama Japan and tells the story of a kind-hearted doctor named Dr. Slow Loris who goes around the world to help other slow lorises who are in need of help. Illustrations for this book were created using crayons, markers and coloured pencils. We would love to have this book translated into as many languages as possible to help spread this important message. If you are able to offer your time to do this please email us at info@littlefireface.org


n.b. this file changed some formatting when we compressed it for the website; if you would like the original version please email us 

 

 

 

Workshop about slow loris in Brunei: A way towards their survival

Hi everyone, my name is Priscillia Miard and I have been working with wild slow lorises since 2012 where I first discovered them in Sabah, Borneo. I did my MSc at Oxford Brookes University after visiting LFP in Indonesia. After finishing my studies in the UK I knew I had to do more to help save slow lorises from extinction. So, after my MSc I went to Brunei to meet some amazing people working to save the slow loris and we decided to organise a workshop with the Government for the World Wildlife Day.

Continue reading Workshop about slow loris in Brunei: A way towards their survival

Save the Pangolin!

Pangolins are unique and extraordinary mammals characterised by their scaly skin, which protects them in the wild. Eight species of pangolins inhabit Asia and Africa: Indian pangolin, Chinese pangolin, Sunda pangolin, Philippine pangolin, tree pangolin or white-bellied pangolin, long-tailed pangolin or black-bellied pangolin, giant pangolin and Temminck’s ground pangolin.

The name pangolin derives from the Malay word ‘penggulung’, which means roller. This name is representative of how pangolins behave when they feel threatened, rolling up into a ball. Pangolins are solitary mammals and are primarily nocturnal. They inhabit various different types of forest such as tropical, limestone, bamboo, broad-leaf and coniferous forests. Grasslands and agricultural fields may also be suitable habitats for pangolins. Their diet consists of ants and termites.

According to the IUCN, pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammal. Their popularity in the illegal wildlife trade is due to poachers selling them as meat and their scales being used in traditional medicine to treat psoriasis and poor circulation. Two species have been listed as Critically Endangered, the Chinese and Sunda pangolin. Indian and Philippine pangolins are Endangered and the four remaining species of pangolin are Vulnerable. These classifications reveal the threat pangolins face from extinction. With more than one million individuals being taken from the wild over the past decade, there is no better time than now to take action and help save the pangolin from extinction. We must give pangolins a voice.

A pangolin is taken from the wild every five minutes. On the 1st of February 2017, three tons of scales from African pangolins were seized from traffickers at Bangkok’s main airport. The scales were representative of 6,000 dead animals. This atrocity is worth more than $1 million dollars on the illegal market.

Since 2001, the Little Fireface Project team has been including pangolins in our survey work throughout Southeast Asia. These surveys include their wild habitat and sadly in the markets too. LFP Research Associate Dr Nabajit Das of the University of Guwahati is undertaking one of the first studies of pangolins in Assam, Northeast India.

On the 18th February a global pangolin day is being held in celebration of this incredible mammal. You can help save the pangolin from extinction by raising awareness of the cruelty imposed on this animal by:

  • Sharing this article
  • When traveling, don’t buy pangolin meat or products such as pangolin leather.
  • Support pangolin conservation and charities
  • Spread the word!


Written by Lucy Holland, LFP Volunteer

High Whistles and Growls from Pygmy Loris fighting the illegal Trade in South Vietnam

The Endangered Asian Species Trust founded in 2007 (UK charity 1115350) established the Dao Tien Endangered Primate Species Centre, in Cat Tien National Park South Vietnam. The centre in direct collaboration with the Forestry Department of Vietnam focusses on endangered primates found in the illegal wildlife trade in the South of Vietnam.

When Dao Tien opened its doors golden-cheeked gibbons (Nomascus gabriellae) and black-shanked doucs (Pygathrix nigripes) flooded in from the illegal tourism and pet trade. At that time in 2008 only one or two pygmy lorises (Nycticebus pygmaeus) were confiscated. With the support of Veterinarian Uli Streicher who introduced EAST to the world of lorises we started radio-collaring and returning these few individual pygmy loris back to the forest. Each individual is important, so every pygmy loris released was radio-collared and monitored post-release. Sadly in the early days many died from predation, but in recent years with a refined protocol we have excellent survival rates. We have also worked hard on captive husbandry and diets, especially providing gum diets for the captive lorises in preparation for return to the wild.

More recently however, the numbers of confiscated pygmy lorises have significantly increased. Pygmy lorises confiscated and donated from long term pets, rich and poor families. But mostly pygmy lorises in the hands of hunters or traders confiscated by the Forestry Protection Department being traded in major towns such as Dalat, Nha Trang or Ho Chi Minh City. Confiscation data from Environmental Police indicates heavy hunting from the central highlands, triggered by new road developments. The roads providing greater access for hunters.

Our research suggests that the demand for pygmy lorises within Vietnam is not great, with reports how they are not good pets, not lively enough. Vietnam with a strong culture of song birds, like to keep beautiful wildlife in small bird cages. For the nocturnal loris hiding from the light, with no beautiful song, just an odd high pitch whistle in distress, hiss and growl, they are not highly desired – Yet!

Pygmy loris radio-collared

The only good thing that arises from this “song bird culture” is that the lorises in the south are not having their teeth pulled like in other regions. The pygmy lorises are in general little handled, so reports of negative reactions to the toxic bite are few and far between. At Dao Tien however we can report that the bite from a captive pygmy loris is very strong, triggering extreme anaphylactic shock in some humans. One of many reasons why they should never be considered as a pet.

The fear now in Vietnam is that with greater hunting access more pygmy lorises and other endangered wildlife are being dumped in the large cities which may trigger a behaviour change and a demand for lorises as pets. Now more than ever the awareness about loris conservation is vital, alongside capacity building within and around protected areas.

My week in Cikananga

Last week I had the chance to spend a week at the Cikananga wildlife center.

All of the animals at Cikananga are unfortunately the victims of the illegal wildlife trade. Cikananga supports these animals in hopes of release back into the wild when possible.

Unfortunately, some of these animals have already spend too much time with humans and are unable to be released. This is the case with Dodo and Noni, a beautiful pair of orangutans, who were both separated from their parents when they were still young.

As a volunteer at Cikananga, my work was to prepare food for the animals, clean the cages, feed them and also to create enrichement to keep the animals’ minds as stimulated as possible. Enrichment can also be used as a tool for animals in preparation for release.

The center is currently one of the largest wildlife rescue centers in the world and strives to maintain the highest international standards, both in professionalism as well as animal welfare. They recruite many volunteers throughout the year, so if you want to help too, please visit their website: www.cikanangawildlifecenter.com

While in the future, our hope is that centers like Cikananga would never be necessary, for the time being, they are playing a vital conservation rôle !

  • Alex, Public Relations and Outreach Officer

Greetings from the Whoop Troop in Viet Nam!

Since leaving Cipaganti, the puppets and I have settled in at the beautiful Dao Tien Endangered Primate Species Centre in southern Viet Nam.  Run by the Endangered Asian Species Trust (EAST), Dao Tien focusses on the rescue, rehabilitation, and where possible, the release of endangered primates native to south Viet Nam.

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I wake every morning at 5.15 to the wonderful whoops of golden cheeked gibbons duetting.  Much better than an alarm clock!  The gibbons at Dao Tien are all victims of illegal hunting and trade.  Most were taken from their families at an early age and kept in appalling conditions, so it takes years to nurture them back to physical and psychological health and give them a chance to return to the forest.  Some are too damaged by human contact to survive in the wild and will live out their lives at Dao Tien.  Take a look at EAST’s website www.go-east.org to see some of the gorgeous primates in our care at the moment.

So how do the puppets and I fit in?  By day we’re working with students in Thanh Binh High School as part of my Whoop Troop project, connecting with students in LFP’s Alum Nature Club and Situwangi School to learn about native animal species common to Viet Nam and Java.  The Thanh Binh Troop are creating a fantastic puppet show which they will perform in six villages around Cat Tien National Park.  Education and awareness raising are an important part of EAST’s work to help stop the illegal trade in endangered primates.  We run two daily tours of the Centre and have many Vietnamese and foreign visitors coming to see what we do and learn about primate conservation.

By night, it’s the turn of the pygmy slow lorises to emerge.  The huge increase in the illegal trade in lorises for pets, tourist props and medicine mean that we’re completely full of rescued pygmy lorises, with a new enclosure planned this year to keep up with the flood of new arrivals.  If you think Javan lorises are amazing, click here to take a look at the pygmy slow loris on the Endangered Asian Species Trust’s Facebook page! At only 400g, the tiny pygmy loris is the smallest loris species, but they still pack the venomous bite of their larger cousins.

Last week LFP’s Dan Geerah visited Dao Tien bringing the equipment to detect ultrasonic animal calls.  After some expert training from Dan, I’ve gone nocturnal to find out if the pygmy slow lorises of Viet Nam use ultrasonic calls to communicate.  We’ve recently released some pygmy lorises so it’s a great opportunity for me to find out if they use these secret calls.  Understanding more about pygmy loris communication can help with rehabilitation and release programmes and in monitoring wild loris populations.  My favourite night shift is midnight to 5 a.m., which starts with tranquil hours in the forest and ends with the slow gathering of dawn and the sounds of waking birds and insects.  When I hear the whoops of Dao Tien’s gibbons and their wild neighbours in Cat Tien National Park, I know it’s time to head home for bed.

One Person At A Time

Hello, all. My name is JoooBooo. I am a slow loris, and I’m currently in West Java, Indonesia educating people about slow loris conservation and helping care for captive lorises. My mission is huge, but with overwhelming love, I reach out.

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JoooBooo trying on the slow loris mask he made at Klub Alam (Nature Club)

Sometimes it seems overwhelming. Wildlife conservation is an exhausting job. Trust me, I just had to take a few days off to recuperate in Bandung. Watch some wildlife shows on TV, get some delicious bugs to eat. But after that time off, I came back feeling more positive than ever and ready to work again. And as discouraging as it sometimes seems, I realized once again that every little bit helps. This is partly due to a wonderful conversation I had with a hotel employee in Bandung. I was explaining my purpose in being here, and why my dedication to my cause was so strong (besides the fact that I’m a loris). And the employee, Yudi, asked me what he and others can do to help. So I told him. It was that simple. Did that solve the problem completely? No, but it’s a good start.

It seems like a lot, working every day and still seeing so many lorises at wildlife markets and in captivity. And seeing that so many of those captive lorises cannot be released, their teeth having been removed or filed down, or having suffered other injuries that prevent them from surviving in the wild. But we have to focus on the positive. Those captive lorises at rescue centers are living healthier, more natural lives than they would as pets, even if they are not in the wild. It may be second best in that case, but it’s better than the alternatives. And every person you educate can make a difference.

In the past month, three lorises have been brought to Little Fireface Project. Two were released immediately, as they were wild and had wandered into the village. The message of LFP has spread far enough that the local people recognized them as being wild, and were trying to protect them by making sure they were properly released. The third loris was someone’s pet, and a friend of its owner convinced them that the loris should not be a pet. This little one, Dodol, has been taken to the Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Center to see if she can be released in the future or not.

JoooBooo on route to take Dodol to Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Centre
JoooBooo on route to take Dodol to Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Centre

So the message is this: the news that reached those people may have been slow, and it may have seemed like a lot of work at the time. But that is three lorises saved. Three lorises like me that can lead better lives. And those people will continue to educate others, and soon the message can spread far and wide. But we have to start with one person at a time.

  • JoooBooo, slow loris & Volunteer Mascot