‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the forest
Not a creature was stirring: a strange silent chorus.
The mouse deer were curled up all snug in their dens;
The wily civets were dreaming of hens.
When all of a sudden there came a rustle
Of rubber boots, all in a hustle.
The woodlands was lit by two dazzling red beams
The forest dwellers stirred in their dreams.
The moon shone through the branches and gleamed on the leaves,
Giving the lustre of daylight to stones and to trees.
At one end of the red beam the dwellers could see
Two weary researchers, Pak Dendi and Me.
Completely determined we tread through the forest
In search of the elusive, enigmatic slow loris.
Of all people, we knew she could be cunning and quick,
Completely outmastering even the most elusive St Nick.
The wind livened up and the branches quivered
As if a forest sprite neared; even the owls shivered.
But Pak Dendi and I, we had no fear.
We saw the sign of a Fireface near.
Calmly and stealthily she strode into view,
A little round animal, brownish in hue.
But closer inspection revealed otherwise;
She wore a crown on her head and diamonds ‘round her eyes.
We watched in wonder, as like silk she wound
Down the long trunk…round and round.
With feet like a gecko and a back like a snake,
She gripped the trunk and we heard it break!
The strength of this lady was not in her thumbs,
But in her strong teeth – a chisel for gums!
She chewed and licked in such a fury—
Why ever was she in such a great hurry?
Our torch beams crept out and stretched through the black;
We gave a sharp gasp at what shone back!
Fairy lights? Fireflies? Twinkled down from the tree…
Not two eyes, not four – but Firefaces three!
No better gift on this Christmas Eve
Then two bundles of joy as small as two peas!!
We crept away to leave them in peace
Gobbling up their sticky Yule Feast.
The stars shone bright, the moon still glistened.
And through the forest we both listened.
A soft whistle brushed through the trees as if to say
“May we always all feel joy as we did today.”
The Javan slow loris is Critically Endangered. Few are left in the wild, but the pet trade rages on. There is hardly any site more magical than a loris in the forest. Follow LFP in 2014 and see their adventures in the wild.