Lorises outside our fieldsite
We have been working with lorises in the small village of Cipaganti for three years now. However, outside of our study area in Cipaganti, we still know very little about where the lorises in Java are living (if they are still living at all!) In order to find out where the lorises are still existing we started to conduct presence surveys. For now, our surveys are focused in the Indonesian regency in which we live, Garut, but later we hope to expand to other areas of Java.
The Javan Slow Loris is a critically endangered primate only known to exist on the island of Java. From our previous research we know what areas we are likely to find lorises in. However, due to rapid land use change, hunting pressure, and possibly also climate change, many areas have become unsuitable for lorises to live in. This means that we are in race against time to find out exactly where these animals live and start to develop plans for further research and habitat management. Mapping the distribution of species is the first step in launching conservation efforts and presence surveys facilitate that mapping process.
For each survey, a team of three or four researchers visit a chosen site in Garut region. Starting right after sunset, the team ventures out and walks a transect of 3-5 km per night. Places that lorises have been found in during the night are revisited the following day to do a vegetation survey. Furthermore, short interviews are conducted to find out whether lorises are known to the people living in the area or have even been sighted on their farms. From the interviews we also hope to get information about hunting of lorises in that area. Our surveys started just last week, at a site roughly one hour away from our field site, and already we have found lorises where we didn’t know they were before! It was a great start and we hope our future surveys turn up results that are just as interesting, whether we find lorises or not.
- Ina-Kathrinn Spey, LFP intern