Hey 🙂 I’m Lucy and I began volunteering for LFP in 2015. I am now the Public Relations Outreach Officer for LFP, which involves organising events such as Slow Loris Outreach Week and managing LFP’s social media. I am also a Masters student in Primatology and Conservation at Oxford Brookes University. For my Thesis I am interested in arboreal bridges as a habitat strategy for the slow loris living within a fragmented agroforest. I have designed a Building Bridges Education Pack for children in Java, and these activities take place every Friday and Saturday in Nature Club. I will be measuring the programme’s success at instilling a sense of compassion and protection towards the slow loris and the natural environment. I will also be working and learning alongside local farmers, and helping out with the agroforestry project, as well as creating and participating in outreach days within the local community. I am very passionate about caring for animals, people and the planet <3
As the Field Station Coordinator, my job encompasses many responsibilities. From conducting slow loris observations, paying salaries, and overseeing volunteers. Here, I do a large mixture of things. One aspect of my job that is very important to both me and the organization is our education and outreach activities. Every week, we go a local school to lead what is called Nature Club. About 70 children, ages 6-13, attend our lessons. We start each session with a small English lesson, usually about simple grammar rules or new vocabulary words, and continue with lessons about local wildlife and conservation. Every 3 months, we have a new theme to our lessons. We just started a new theme, with the help of a volunteer working on her Master’s thesis, called Building Bridges. For the next 12 weeks, our students will learn about the different lorises that live near their homes and why protecting them is important. Many of the children’s families own farms in the mountains that intersect slow loris homeranges. Therefore, we will “assign” each student a loris who they will learn about and want to protect. We hope to instill a sense of pride in each student about the loris whose home they share, encouraging empathy and awareness of lorises and all other Indonesian wildlife.
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! Continue reading Behind the Scenes of Real World Conservation→
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.
Aloha, my name is Elsa. I am a University student who came to Cipaganti to join the LFP team in June of this year. I volunteer at LFP with my friend Endah to finish my final project for my university. My project in LFP is to observe infant development and dispersal. So, I have to follow uncollared baby lorises and I have to say that it’s a little bit hard to do because if the baby was hiding or goes to the area that I don’t know, I have a hard time finding it again. Sometimes, when I go to find the baby, I fail. Because the mother is not always with the baby. But, it’s still fun when I go to the forest to observe lorises because I have trackers that always help me.
Two weeks ago, the LFP Team and the trackers went to the local hot springs together. It was partly a goodbye present for Laura who was leaving after she finished her work in Cipaganti. We went to Darajat Pass all in Aconk’s family car, squished together because the car was a little bit small for all of us. We arrived at 6 pm and then we were playing together and taking a lot of photos until 10 pm. I had so much fun because we can do something together with all of the members. I always hope we can go to another beautiful place together before I go back home to Jakarta.
Another exciting moment was Indonesian Independence day on the 17th of August 2016. We made a parade with the students from MI Al-Hidayah school all the way until the football field in Pamegatan. Alex and Nadia wore Tereh’s and Bunga’s costumes to make the parade more fun for the kids around the villages. We played an Independence Day song and the school’s song all along the march to draw attention from the people along the way and finished with a unique display of performances from all of the villages.
Thankfully, the weather was so nice so we were able to make a great parade with two giant lorises at the front of the march. Along the way, we also shared stickers with the kids and people who watched us at the side. I feel happy because a lot of people were so enthusiastic about the Independence Day. They made a lot of accessories which hung up along the way or on their own house and they also put the Indonesian flag in front of their house. The village chiefs made a lot of tournaments such as football and volley ball matches. It made Independence Day very special for the local people.
One last memory that I want to share is how I got to teach the MI students aerobics routines every Friday morning, when I didn’t have a shift late on Thursday night of course. The MI students were so cute when they tried to follow my instructions. They followed along perfectly! I became so close with the kids and I will find it hard to leave them when I have to go back to Jakarta. I always want to play with them. Should I move to Cipaganti and live here for the rest of my life? What do you think, my friend?
There have been so many happy and fun moments that I can’t count since I got here. I will never regret my decision to join LFP in Cipaganti and volunteering for three months. I found a lot of new experiences and knowledge that I received from all of the members. There is so many people to whom I want to give my thanks. For example, I thank Marie for teaching me the way to analyse the data with RStudio and many more people that I couldn’t count but who are so precious to me. Thank you for giving me this incredible experience!
Madrasah Ibtidaiyah Al-Hidayah adalah sekolah muslim yang bernuansa Islami dan berdasarkan Quran mencetak anak yang beriman dan berperilaku baik.
MI Al-Hidayah berdiri pada bulan Juli tahun 2009. Pada tahun didirikan, kami mempunyai staf pengajar hanya 3 orang termasuk saya dan mempunyai siswa angkatan pertama hanya 10 orang.
Mengapa, saya mendirikan sekolah Mi Al-Hidayah?
Karena jarak tempuh ke sekolah SD dari kampung saya cukup jauh dan banyak anak yang putus sekolah dengan alasan lelah jalan kaki.
Melihat daya tempung di sekolah SD sangat banyak pada saat itu. Kelas yang berukuran 6mx7m hampir ada 100 orang siswa. Kami berpikir lebih baik kami mendirikan sekolah baru.
Dari tahun 2009 sampai tahun 2014 biaya operasional sekolah dan segala macam biaya saya sendiri di bantu donatur dari keluarga. Pada tahun 2012 kami menjalin kerjasama dengan LFP mengadakan sekolah Nature Club yang sampai sekarang masih berjalan.
Pada tahun 2014 di bulan September Al-Hamdulilah (Praise to Lord) kami mendapat sponsor dan dana bantuan dari LFP untuk mendirikan bangunan sekolah baru sebanyak lima kelas yang berukuran masing-masing kelas 6×7 m setiap kelas dan menghabiskan dana sebesar Rp. 179,675,000. Dana yang kurang kami mendapatkan donasi dari keluarga kami dan kami bisa menyalesaikan sekolah sebanyak lima kelas tersebut di lahan kami yg didapatkan dari wakaf keluarga kami.
Pada bulan Januari 2015 Alhamdulillah bangunan sekolah kami dibuka dan diresmikan yang didanai oleh LFP dari semenjak itu. Sekolah kami makin berkembang dan banyak siswa. Sebanyak 88 orang.
Pada tahun 2016 di bulan Mei sekolah kami megajukan untuk mengikuti akreditas untuk menguji kelayakan sekolah yang berstandar Nasional dan hasilnya Alhamdulilah, Sekolah Mi Al-Hidayah sekarang sudah berakreditas B, dan mendapatkan biaya operasional sekolah dari negara, akan tetapi kami masih kekurangan untuk gaji guru sebanyak 7 orang. Untuk guru di sekolah kami yang 7 orang masih guru bantu yang tidak digaji seperti guru lainnya, hanya dibayar semena-mena bilamana kami mendapat donasi dari keluara kami.
Pada tahun sekarang di bulan Juli 2016, kami merayakan kelulusan anak siswa siswa kelas 6 angkatan ke 2 Mi Al-Hidayah yang disponsori oleh LFP dan Alhamdulilah acaranya sangat meriah yang dihadiri oleh 250 orang warga sekitar, bukan hanya LFP saja yang memberikan sponso, Alhamdulilah kami juga mendapat sponsor untuk kegiatan Paturay Tineung dari PT Al Zubara. Berkat itu kami bisa memberi santunan kepada seluruh siswa-siswa Mi Al-Hidayah anak yatim dan miskin yang ada di wilayah sekitar Mi Al-Hidayah. Semoga di tahun yang akan datang kami mendapatkan sponsor yang lebih banyak dan bisa lebih meriah lagi.
Harapan kami di tahun ini semoga kami medapatkan sponsor untuk membangun 2 kelas baru karena kami kekurangan ruangan untuk sarana dan prasarana belajar-mengajar yang lebih efektif karena di tahun sekarang total siswa di sekolah kami sebanyak 125 orang ditambah anak-anak PAUD (sekolah di bawah taman kanak-kanak) sebanyak 30 orang.
Ucapan terima kasih kami haturkan kepada The Little Fireface Project, PT Alzubara, dan seluruh keluarga yang telah membantu. Semoga apa yang telah diberikan kepada kami Tuhan Allah membalasnya yang lebih. Amen.
Introduction to Mi Al-Hidayah School
Madrasah Ibtidaiyak Al-Hidayah is a Muslim school which aims to develop good and religious behaviour to elementary students. Mi Al-Hidayah was built in July 2009, and when it first opened, we only had 3 staff (including myself) and 10 students.
Why did we built Mi Al-Hidayah school:
The distance from the village to the nearest government school is too far that many students would not continue their education, just because they have to walk too far from their house.
Most of the time, the government school is overloaded. One 6×7 meters sized classroom almost has 100 students! So we thought it will be better if we have another school as well.
From 2009 – 2014 all of the school operational costs were covered by myself and donations from family members. In 2012 our school made a relationship with The Little Fireface Project to hold ‘Nature Club’, and it is still running now!
In 2014 we got sponsorship from The Little Fireface Project to help to continue to build the new school. So we built five new classrooms the size of 6×7 meters each. The rest of the money came from donations by our families so that we could finally build the classrooms the school needed on land donated by my family.
In January 2015 the build was finished and officially opened! Our school is getting better and better and more students come to us every year. In 2015 we reached 88 students – a long way from the first 10 in 2012!
In May 2016 Mi Al-Hidayah was tested for the government accreditation award which we achieved to level B. Now we also get operational funds from the government, but this is still not enough to pay our 7 teachers. The teachers in our school do not get paid in the way that teachers in other schools are paid – they are only given a wage if we get more donations or funding that month.
This year in July we celebrated the graduation of our students in class 6. Sponsored by The Little Fireface Project the event was great and 250 people came! The graduation was also sponsored by PT Al Zubara, which means that we can help pay for supplies and fees for for the orphaned and poor children attending and in the region of Mi Al-Hidayah.
I hope that in the next year we get more funding and the event can be even better! We hope in this year that we get more sponsorship to make 2 new classrooms so that we can hold more activities for the children. We now have 125 students plus 30 new kindergarten students – so these classrooms are needed to make their learning more effective.
Thank you to The Little Fireface Project, PT. Al Zubara, and all the people who have helped us. I hope that God blesses you all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Saving endangered primates with fake fur might sound mad but that’s exactly what I’ve come to Asia to try. I arrived at LFP this week with a rucksack bulging with animal puppets and received a warm welcome in the field house. It wasn’t long until some of the neighbours popped by to meet the new residents.
The puppets aren’t just here for a holiday – they’re part of the Whoop Troop conservation education programme that I’ve developed for my MSc Primate Conservation research project. I’m here in Java for a week to deliver the puppets and launch the Whoop Troop project. Then I’m off to Viet Nam for two months to deliver the project there. Students in both countries will be following the course together and will link up by internet to share their knowledge and experiences in this connecting classrooms project. I’ll be finding out whether it’s an effective way of learning about primate conservation.
Here in Java, students in our Cipaganti Nature Club and Situwangi Boarding School in Cikajang have already joined the Whoop Troop. They’ll spend the next eight weeks investigating the behavioural ecology of the Javan slow loris, Javan silvery gibbon, Javan rhinoceros, leopard cat, saltwater crocodile and rhinoceros hornbill, and the threats they face in the wild. And you’ve guessed it… these are our puppet characters. As well as learning scientific techniques for studying animals, the children will write and perform a spectacular puppet show to tell other people what they’ve learned. It will be so exciting to find out what characters the children develop for the puppets!
As if all that wasn’t enough excitement, I also saw my first wild slow loris last night. Katie and Yiyi took me out on observations and kindly didn’t mention my slow and slippery progress up the mountain. They are so experienced they just stride along the trails. Yiyi located our focal loris Fernando quickly and we watched him foraging for two magical hours until thick fog set in. Reading scientific papers and watching videos hadn’t prepared me for the slow loris’ graceful stretch between branches and sinuous climbing motion. Although sadly the fog put a stop to observations, I felt really contented just sitting there in a carrot field listening to the cicadas and frogs. Javan fog is so much warmer than fog in Oxford!
Claire Cardinal, MSc Researcher
Saving the slow loris via ecology, education, empowerment.