Tag Archives: Nycticebus javanicus

Slow Loris Conservation Through Education and Outreach. By Ella Brown – Field Station Coordinator

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.

Lessons like these are particularly important because the villages these children live in are close to many slow loris homeranges. Often, slow lorises will travel through local farms or even find their way into a village (particularly when a loris is expanding his or her homerange). This can be a very scary and confusing experience for the loris. Just last week, we got news that an adult slow loris had wandered into the village not far from the LFP headquarters. I and a few other staff members find her hanging from an electric cable strung between two houses. There was a small group of concerned villagers, who knew about LFP and what we do here,  and had contacted us out of concern for the welfare of this loris.  With their help, we were able to safely capture the loris. We briefly checked her for any physical ailments, and found that she was completely healthy. Then, we carefully walked with her farther up the mountain, where we were able to release her back into the forest.  She quickly climbed up a large stalk of bamboo and disappeared into the leaves above, thankful but happy to distance herself from any humans.

Through our outreach and education, we are able to teach local people about how amazing and important slow lorises and all Indonesian wildlife are. Another way we spread our message is by printing large LFP calendars and handing them out to the villagers. This is a great way for us to let everyone know what we do and to also  better know the poeple whose vilage we live in.

 

In these ways, education and community outreach is a vital part of the LFP mission. If we had not persistently educated and made our presence known to local villagers, the loris who made her way into the village may have met a much sadder fate. Instances such as that let me know that what we are doing here is important, and that all the hard work we do every single day is definitely worth it!

My Wonderful Experience with Javan Slow Loris at the Little Fireface Project – Carala Rosadi

Hi to everyone reading my blog, hopefully it will deliver a message about why we should care about wildlife, especially the Javan Slow Loris “Kukang Jawa” and also what we can do to save them from any kind of threat of being extinct. Firstly, let me introduce myself, my name is Carala Rosadi, I’m Indonesian and a Forestry Student that focuses in Forest Resource Conservation in Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I started to be interested about wildlife when I’m in the last semester because I want to do something different that I’ve never done before.  That’s my reason for deciding to come to Cipaganti, Garut, West Java and take part in wildlife-related activities and volunteer for the inspired and gorgeous project I’ve heard of – the Little Fireface Project. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading my story, and help to improve your compassion to the Javan Slow Loris and also encourage you to work together with us to save them from extinction. My Wonderful Experience with Javan Slow Loris at the Little Fireface Project – Carala Rosadi

Food Based Conservation

My time at Loris Land is almost over. In April I will move from this magical land and go to a rescue centre for two months to finish my studies. It occurred to me that I haven’t even told you all about my research yet! Well, grab a glass (bottle) of wine and get ready for a juicy insight into a loris crazed researcher’s brain. I apologise in advance if I offend anyone with my thoughts.

This research aims to increase the welfare of lorises in rescue centres like this one!
This research aims to increase the welfare of lorises in rescue centres like this one!

I have been working in animal nutrition for a while now, and in this modern day and age with all of our “ethics” and lab rules … HOW do we know if we are feeding the right diet to an animal. You feed it … it doesn’t die. Does that mean the diet is good? You feed it, it is alive and breeding and performs natural behaviours? Is that satisfactory? What about giving them the nutrients that they need, but in a presentation that is not at all akin to the wild, such as giving only pellets or a porridge. These are all questions which really interest me and I would like to be able to explore. Nutrition impacts every single facet of an animal’s life because they have adapted to exploit a specific group of foods in the wild.

My personal motto is that captive diets should be based on wild diets. It isn’t always possible to reproduce a wild diet in captivity though so we have to make do with what we have. To study this further, I had the idea of looking exactly at what lorises eat in the wild and then calculating their nutrient intake and translating this into a captive diet. I want to look at every.single.nutrient. Lorises are actually a great model animal for this since their captive diets are currently … so so. Plus, with the sheer amount of lorises in rescue centres, creating a good but cheap diet would be amazing for these poor little guys! A special diet for those without teeth would also be a good addition.

Releasing one of our lorises after a health check
Releasing one of our lorises after a health check

SO one issue with these kind of studies is that you can’t necessarily measure the digestive parameters of your wild animals to use as a “golden standard” when you do diet trials. Armed with a bucket of gum the amazing LFP trackers and I have been collecting over months, dried nectar and insects I will be giving some captive lorises a diet which reflects the proportions and quantities of wild lorises. I’ll then be able to measure how much fibre they can digest, how long it takes the diet to pass through them, see how they behave and see how much food they ingest. I hope to be able to do some fancy microbiology and see the state of their gut microbes as well! Now I make a pretty big assumption that these results will be similar to the wild lorises, which is a whole other thing. With all this info, I will then be able to have diet trials which have the necessary nutrients and measure the SAME things again. The diet which most closely resembles the wild type *should* be the ideal captive diet.

The team during the latest health checks
The team during the latest health checks. Little Ena was as calm as could be!

I have lots of ambitions and I really want my studies to help the lorises in any capacity. It would be great if this diet also helps the success of reintroductions but that isn’t for now. I need to finish this study first before I can move on to other things. I can’t believe this adventure is almost over when it feels like I just got my hands into it. I was called Princess on my first day here, and I have remained a princess throughout, yet ever so slightly more rugged now (and beardy).

I look forward to sharing my results with you all!! More from the rescue centre adventures soon 🙂

Francis Cabana

PhD Student and LFP Research Coordinator

LFP’s Infant Dispersal Study

With the recent onset of the wet season I’ve noticed a few changes in our lorises behaviour’. They seem to groom more, which is understandable after the torrential downpours! I’ve also seen a lot of exciting baby activity, they just seem to be popping up all over the place. Consequently I am looking into infant behaviour and dispersal in Javan Slow Lorises. To start off I’ve been making family trees, social webs and interaction charts finding out whose who and can now see what a tight knit Loris Community we have here in West Java. Despite the large number of lorises we follow and the regular un-collared lorises we find throughout most territories, all of our animals are linked in some way, which is great fun to study.

Baby Alomah during his first collaring
Baby Alomah during his first collaring

We have everything from mothers and fathers, sons and daughters to new boyfriends and girlfriends amongst our focal animals and due to the long study period we can follow them throughout different life stages. We are watching the progress of newborns through their dispersal and have a front row seat as they eventually find territories and mates of their own. For example one of our slow lorises, Lucu, is the daughter of Charlie, a loris with one of the highest elevated territories we have. Lucu has now dispersed and traveled all the way down right next to the village and is now settling in with boyfriend Pak B. We have other individuals we’ve followed from birth such as Dali who is still a sub-adult and as he grows up we are already able to see him interacting with his mum’s newest baby and it’ll be exciting to track his dispersing journey. Alomah (son of One Eye) seems to be in the process of dispersing and is often found waking up with Azka or One-Eye. Maya and Fernando, young lorises themselves, have recently been seen foraging together and Fernando was seen with a very small, and very fluffy, baby so we’ll be keeping a close eye on this new family!

Babu Lucu when dispersing from mother Charlie.
Babu Lucu when dispersing from mother Charlie.

Despite having long been considered as solitary it appears that these mysterious primates have quite the social life and as this project progresses I’m hoping to be able to find out about it in more detail – what age they weaned, what age do they begin to disperse, how far do they disperse, what are the barriers – if any, do they disperse with a new mate or meet a new one there? So many questions, so little time!

Jess Wise

Student Volunteer

Love Can Move Mountains … Or Make You Climb Them

The collars that we use to track our lorises with are very light and we have never known the collar to be a cause of concern or annoyance for our lorises which we observe nightly. Leaving a collar on a loris that we don’t observe often enough however, isn’t fair. We have a female named Api, who recently dispersed from 1500m above sea level to 1800m above sea level, near the summit of our volcano, Mt. Papandayan. It is quite a trek to get there so observations were very rarely done. LFP trackers Aconk, Dendi and Adin and myself decided to pay her one last visit, and cut off her collar.

Aconk, Dendi and Adin, our amazing trackers
Aconk, Dendi and Adin, our amazing trackers

That was the hardest hike of my life. I have hiked in the cloud forests of Honduras, but this was different, I had to claw, climb, dig and pull myself to the top. The higher we got, the steeper and the more vicious the wildlife became. Stems, branches and leafs were often armed with spikes and prickly hairs. When I fell or slipped (which was often) naturally I would reach for anything to keep me from rolling down the slope. Grabbing those spike vines or branches helped because it made me instantly jump (and swear) so high, I practically flew to the top. No I mean it, I’m not proud to say I accidentally taught our trackers some absolutely foul language.

Api - our fiery lady
Api – our fiery lady

Three hours later we reached the top, I was so happy. Aconk quickly said “The signal is pointing down”. I laughed. He wasn’t kidding. Because of the many mountains in the area, the radio signals bounce off of the mountains. We had to climb down and up for another 2 hours before finding our fiery lady.

2wm

I was very happy to see, she was not alone! She found a mate in this secondary forest! We heard eagles calling overhead and circling. Clearly this area was harder to live in than in our field site but our lady could handle it. Our trackers climbed the tree, placed her in a pouch, we cut off her collar (I took a commemorative loris selfie) and then released her back to her husband. She was in very good condition but had little scratches on her hands which were healing. Seems I am not the only one to hate those thorny branches.

Cutting the radio collar off
Cutting the radio collar off

The hike down was treacherous. We had wandered so far, it was steep and muddy. I have made it pretty clear that I slipped often, but now I was to worry about sliding down, getting my feed tangles in vines or low branches WHILE already sliding down which ultimately results in my flipping over and sliding onto my stomach. My boots were getting so caked with mud from all the sliding that everything became slippery. Even dry wood and rocks. Basically put, I was doomed. I actually managed to flip over and kick Aconk in the back and cause a domino effect when trying to jump down from a ledge but got one foot tangled. Now if Aconk was an evil villain that would have looked awesome. Two and a half hours later, some scratches and a few pricks, I was home and Api was back asleep. I just hope her boyfriend didn’t find her interesting only because of her sexy collar.

Francis

Releasing Api into the forest for good!
Releasing Api into the forest for good!

Cipganti Pride Days and Cipaganti’s Got Talent!

The start of January also saw the start of the Cipganti Pride Days. The two day event held on the 11th and 12th of January was a huge success! We were invited to host parts of the events at the office of the village chief, which was a great honour! The first day included a range of activities from a coffee tasting, children’s book corner to introduce the new library, a photo exhibition and photo booth. Read more from Michael and Josie about their experiences with the latter two below!

In the afternoon we had a games afternoon on the football field for the children. It was wonderful! When the children had won their prizes for the sack races we decided to have a final race between the LFP team members. It was met with fits of laughter from the kids as tracker Aconk sabotaged the race by throwing all the sacs away, volunteer Sharon running with her sac in her hand and Denise tackling her when she saw that she would finish last. Other games included limbo dancing, egg and spoon races, and some local games. The games that the trackers had prepared were met with even more laughing! In one, they have large woven bowls (normally used to cool rice) and filled it with flour. They then mixed in some coins and the children had to sit, with their hands tied behind their backs and fish out the coins with their mouths. They all loved it! It was a great afternoon for all the team and the children of Cipganti!

Volunteer Micheal and the photo exhibition

 

Photographing ‘village life’ when I’m a wildlife photographer?  Well, as the day loomed, I thought to myself “How am I going to do this with no experience photographing this media?”  “Just think of the subject (people) as really large animals – like a Kangaroos!”  My fears were soon forgotten as the people of the small village of Cipaganti in West Java, Indonesia came out in force to put on a show that made my assignment not only easy, but incredibly enjoyable.  I never thought that I could be moved photographing people, until I met a beautiful older woman in the back lanes of the village.  When I showed her the photograph I had taken of her on my cameras screen, she was brought to tears and began to cry uncontrollably.  It was then that I realised that some of these people had never had their photograph taken and all of their childhood and adult memories were exactly that – memories!

The photographic exhibition that came out from this experience was received extremely well, as the villagers old and young, giggled and laughed together as they wandered through the display; seeing images of each other for the first time.  Such was the interest of the exhibition, the Kebala Desa (equivalent of town mayor) requested the exhibition be held indefinitely in his office hall. The entire process was one that I will never forget and the unique characters of Cipaganti will always remain with me.

Volunteer Josie’s Experience as Bunga at the Photo Booth

“Bunga” and Momma, “Tereh” feature in LFP’s book for children, “Tereh and Bunga: Forest Protectors” which details nocturnal life in the forest for the pair. However, in the last year both characters have been made into giant mascot costumes to feature in village events organised by LFP. Last year, Tereh took centre stage in our Slow Loris Pride days and – played brilliantly by tracker Adin – stole the hearts of the audience with her hilarious dance moves and naughty stage antics. Once again, Adin suited up as Tereh and took to entertaining the masses of children at our “Welcome Event” held in the Kepala Desa’s office (Head of the Village).

However, Tereh was not alone in her antics last weekend, our brand new Bunga suit debuted at “Cipaganti Mencari Bakat” – Cipaganti’s Got Talent. Bunga – played by myself – was available for “Aku cinta Kukang” (I love Slow Loris) photos at the Forest Protector Photo booth. Bunga also spent several hours working the crowd giving out hugs and posing for photos with visitors. Tereh and Bunga also played several hilarious games where the children had to try sneaking up on the lorises while they huddled in their sleeping balls at the centre of a big circle.

The several hours I spent dressed as Bunga were the hottest of my life! I must have got through half a gallon of drinking water just to stay upright. But the experience was brilliant! The children were so excited to play with their new loris friends. Many of them spent several minutes staring up in disbelief before deciding they just HAD to get involved in the festivities.

By the end of the afternoon, Bunga and Tereh had a whole posy following them everywhere. Everyone wanted to get a few snaps with the giant “kukang” and the photos are full of laughter. It was totally worth enduring the five thousand degree temperatures inside the mascot head just to see how much it made everyone at the event smile.

I’m back in the forest this week, but I think I should start wearing the suit out on second shift. It would definitely keep me warm when the 3am chill creeps in!

Read about Cipganti’s Got Talent in our next blog!

Lorises Get New Bling

This week has been a busy week of catching and collaring lorises at the field site. First up was Sibau’s daughter Galaksi. It took trackers Adin and Dendi almost an hour to catch her, with Dendi hanging in the bamboo over the path and sliding down tree trunks like it was a fireman’s pole. Once caught, we placed Galaksi in a bag to keep her calm whilst we layed out all the materials needed to take her measurements and collect samples. We weighed her, collared her, and collected faecal and venom samples. What a beautiful loris she was, fit and healthy! She had very dark eye patches and a lovely dorsal stripe!

Next in line was our lovely loris Lucu. Lucu already had a collar but was collared quite young and therefore we wanted to make sure that she was doing okay. For months we had been wondering whether Lucu, meaning “cute” in Indonesian, was a boy or a girl and Anna brought some light to the situation. Lucu is a girl!!! She was very easy to catch and the entire process took less than 30 minutes. She was released back onto a nice tree close to where she had been caught and sprinted off into the distance. We checked on her an hour later and she was resting in the bamboo and grooming herself. When we looked to the side we saw an additional 2 uncollared lorises within 10m of her! What a social lady she is!

LFP to participate in ZACC!

Prof Anna Nekaris and PhD candidate Johanna Rode will participate in this year’s ZACC conference (Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation) to be held at Blank Park Iowa. As stated on the ZACC web site…

“Blank Park Zoo is excited to host the 2013 Zoos and Aquariums: Committing to Conservation conference in Des Moines, Iowa, July 8 through July 12, 2013.  This biennial conference provides opportunities for zoo and aquarium personnel and field researchers to meet and develop partnerships that benefit wildlife and wild places around the globe. The informal nature of the conference creates a positive atmosphere for networking and inspires collaborative action.”

With generous support by our wonderful colleagues at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Cleveland Zoo Society, Anna and Jo will travel to Iowa. We will present the first quantitative results of our conservation education and empowerment projects, participate in the ZACC film night, a round table on conservation action, and are excited to present some new LFP products at the ZACC market place. Not only will we sell our now classic glow-in-the dark tees, but we will also introduce our new line of Tereh and Bunga ‘Slow Loris Forest Protector’ products, including our gorgeous new children’s book, illustrated by Shelley Low.

 

Some loris love for St Valentine’s!

So are they naughty little animals, hot-footing it from one partner to another? Are loris families torn apart by philandering fathers? No! Endearingly, early studies from the field show that the Javan loris presents a shining example of a healthy uni-male, uni-female family unit. And just in time for Valentine’s Day too, one of their favourite things to do together is spend time in the caliandra flowers sipping nectar—sweet!

Take Tereh, her man Guntur and little baby Tahini. They spend a lot of time together within a 100 m radius, with mum and baby snuggled together in the first few weeks of life and dad reassuringly close by. After that, unusual for primates, it is the man who takes over, with Guntur visiting baby Tahini throughout the night! Of course, we cannot be 100% sure that Gunter is Tahini’s father. Loris paternity tests are a long way down the pipe-line and are surpassed by more pressing concerns such as the components of loris venom! This isn’t Jeremy Kyle you know. That said, ladies have been known to let another man into their lives on occasion (just don’t tell Guntur).

Generally, loris mum, dad and kids live in stable social units or spatial groups. They spend their time allogrooming, following, expressing alternate click-calls and whistles and sleeping in close contact, with parents sharing the shopping responsibly by transferring information on food resources.

They are generally on good terms with the neighbours and interactions between members of overlapping spatial ranges are a genial affair with occasional grooming and whistling. But when there is a spat, look out—you could lose an ear! Other than those rows, we humans could take a gum-leaf from the loris book of manners!

 

Read the story also in our new newsletter here.

New Videos to Counteract YouTube Horrors – Slow Loris

For many of us, slow lorises are cute. You can put them in a pile of garbage and they still look just that!! CUTE! So it is no wonder that a tortured overweight loris on a dirty pile of sheets essentially being tortured still looks, well, cute (according to some 17 million viewers at any rate)…

For non-experts, who cannot read the expressions of fear in the animals’ faces when they watch videos of pet lorises, who cannot tell how much bright light hurts their eyes, who cannot see how starving they are so they eat bananas and rice rather than their beloved gum and insects, who cannot see how desperate they are for a branch so they grab on to an umbrella, they are still that – CUTE. For us here at the Little Fireface Project, we see the demise of a beloved species for a senseless human gain.

To counteract this, we are introducing a series of videos of these gorgeous animals as they should be. With our rare access to footage of animals in the wild, we hope you can see just how fast the loris can be! How much the move! How many branches they need! How giant their pupils should be. How lovely their fur should look. That is why we film in red and infrared light, so the loris can behave naturally, not terrified by white lights. We hope you can see, as we have done, the real loris, and love them for what they really are.