Abdullah’s Blog – Tackling Wildlife Trade and its Obstacles

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

 

Each surveys I conduct, I can find more than 50 species of birds (more than 600 individuals) displayed in Kerkoff, surprisingly high for a small market and more than 20 species (around 100 individuals) in Mawar market. Those numbers include the threatened and nationally protected species. Despite our efforts to tackle the illegal trade by reporting it to the authorities in Garut, I see their number (threatened, protected species or not) rarely gets lower over period. It is actually saddening and frustrating at the same time as we do it every weeks and report it, but nothing changes that much.

Leopard cat in kerkoff market

 

 

Critically Endangered and nationally protected bali myna in mawar market

Once, we came to the local authority office in Garut, sat down, and asked nicely why it kept happening, and what we could do better. As they opened their mouth, I could guess that classic answer would come out of theirs. It turned out to be true. They just answered that they didn’t have enough space and money for confiscated animals to get rehabilitated. It took a long process as well and they are understaffed. It is true that they can just capture the animals and release it without checking their condition. But even when the dealers are busted during an operation, they just take the information from the traders’ ID card, tell them what they are doing is illegal and they will put a serious action next time they do it, then they just let them away to avoid big conflicts. Of course, it gives no deterrent effect to the traders.   

The process of confiscation, rehabilitation, and release require big amount of human and financial resources. They said there was high enthusiasm from people who wanted to work for conservation under the government, but they didn’t have enough money to hire more. Suddenly, corruption and laziness popped out in my mind. Yes, it’s always been the main root issue in the country, not just for conservation but also for other sectors. Such a country with its mega biodiversity doesn’t have enough budget to save what it has is weird for me. It’s also true, though, as our government never prioritizes wildlife, and if they do care, there will still be people with lazy mind wanting to gain money so fast that they don’t care how that money is supposed to be spent effectively for publics.

Those are not the only problem. Some people in Indonesia doesn’t really appreciate process. They would do something instantly to get money without thinking the negative impacts it may cause. Without giving time for nature to recover, they poach wildlife. Some of them also think that leaving such jobs will kill them and their family as they feel that is the only thing they can do to earn money.  So, when they feel destined to be a poacher, they will not stop until there is nothing left for them to poach. This is another hard job for conservationists to change such perceptions.

The battle against wildlife trade is still far from over. So are the battle against habitat loss and other conservation issues. Beside battles, we also have a race against rapid extinction. If we can win the battles, we can win the race. Until then, all the frontliners of wildlife protectors must never give up.  

Behind the Scenes of Real World Conservation

Everyone reading this is most likely aware of the Little Fireface Project and what we do.  Our conservation and research work is crucial to the survival of the Javan slow loris and often times we can look incredibly impressive through our social media accounts and research outputs.

While this is all of course an accurate representation of the incredible work that I am lucky enough to be a part of, it is only half of the story. Unfortunately, only a small portion of each of my days is reflected in these inspiring images. The vast majority of the day of a coordinator is much less glamourous!
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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

Imanol’s experience at LFP so far

I´m Imanol and I´m from Bilbao. I have come to LFP as part of my master´s degree – I study Primatology in Girona. I am particularly interested in prosocial behaviours of primates and have been analysing this topic throughout many species. Now I have travelled accross the world to study this first-hand in the field, specifically in slow lorises. I will stay in Indonesia for 4 months, although now I have already hit the halfway mark! So for my first blog I would like to talk a little bit about my emotional journey of coming to the project.

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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

Slow Loris Outreach Week 2017

Every October the Little Fireface Project invites the whole world to participate in Slow Loris Outreach Week (SLOW). Each year a collaboration of inspirational people from different areas of the globe work hard to create awareness of the Critically Endangered slow loris. We at the Little Fireface Project would love to take this opportunity to sincerely and humbly thank everyone who have supported the slow loris and the Little Fireface Project.

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A Sapphire for our Slow Lorises!

Sapphire on the far right, participating in a team film for SLOW2017

I’m Sapphire and I have come to LFP as part of my BSc in Zoology at Cardiff University. Almost two months into my placement year and I am loving it here. I enjoy the culture, the people, the family that the staff and volunteers have become and obviously the wildlife! I will be studying positions of loris bridges alongside helping out with the behavioural observations throughout the night and helping to teach children English in a school in Garut. Some days are busy busy busy, and this is one of them.

When you first wake up you hear the mosque prayers, the motorbikes zooming past the house, the chickens squawking and the hustle and bustle of this small village you’ve made your home. As you make your way to the kitchen, four cats surround you for attention (and most likely food) and after a good cup of tea (in my case at least) you are able to start your day. Continue reading

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 

 

 

 

Slow Loris Outreach Week 2017 is Here!

Every October, as the nights become darker, and the world becomes more like a slow loris would see it, we at the Little Fireface Project do more than our normal passionate activities for the slow loris – we invite the whole world to participate in Slow Loris Outreach Week! This year, we will be hosting a slow loris yoga event in Oxford; outreach events in Kyoto Japan including the premiere of a slow loris book; presenting a new beautiful film from Indonesian film maker Wawan Tarniwan on the ecology and plight of the slow loris; loads of activities from our project partners including Shaldon Wildlife Trust in the UK! We are also offering a special 10% discount on tshirts at our Etsy shop, so make sure to pop over and use coupon code SLOW2017 at check out! Thanks also to our friends at Peppermint Narwhal Creative for making such a cute and informative image to help everyone around the world to know their loris! Please check out our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all this week to find out the many ways you can help to save the slow loris!

A day in the life of a volunteer at LFP

You wake up to the sound of the mosque cascading through the village and motorcycles buzzing by. Stretch, yawn, sniff the air to see if Ibu Ina is downstairs and cooking yet. This may have a significant bearing on your morning ritual as it may take up to 30 minutes before you’re able to boil the kettle to make a coffee. After having determined if there is in fact an Ibu in the kitchen, roll out of bed and navigate the steep stair case descending into the common area. Post haste head into the kitchen whilst attempting to avoid treading on the cats. They will be determined to give you the warmest welcome to the day you could ever hope to receive (though I suspect they only want me for my ability to reach the cat food). Continue reading