Zoo conservation efforts in Indonesia

Slow loris, Sumatra, Courtesy Indonesia Species Conservation Program

By Rick LoBello, Education Curator

Most people who come to the Zoo know about our efforts to help endangered species like elephants, orangutans and Mexican wolves.   Thanks to the El Paso Zoological Society and Service Systems and Associates, the Zoo’s Conservation Fund is able to increase the Zoo’s conservation impact by also helping smaller species like the slow loris.   This small primate is one the animals you may have seen in the Zoo’s Asia Nocturnal Exhibit.  They are members of the primate suborder Strepsirrhini, consisting of the lemurs, lorises, and bush babies. 

Most of the slow loris species in Southeast Asia are decreasing in numbers and may become endangered in the near future if conservation efforts underway are not successful.  One slow loris species on the island of Java is critically endangered.

Our slow lorises at the Zoo are conservation ambassadors for slow loris conservation efforts like the Indonesia Species Conservation Program (ISCP).   The Zoo first connected with this organization by networking with Robert Hii of Toronto who we featured recently on this blog.   Robert introduced us to Rudianto Sembiring, a former zookeeper who founded the organization in 2011.  

Rudianto Sembiring (right) helping to educate villagers in Sumatra about the illegal pet trade.

ISCP is an independent, non-profit organization working to protect a wide variety of wildlife species threatened by habitat loss and the illegal pet trade.  Located in North Sumatra ISCP focuses on education and helping to investigate in cooperation with Forestry departments and officials, a wide variety animal rescue efforts. Habitat destruction and over-exploitation is the major reason why so many Indonesian species of wildlife are threatened with extinction.

To learn more about this program and get involved in helping them, you can visit their Facebook page or contact the Zoo’s Conservation Committee.  


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