The Zoo’s support of the Indonesian Species Conservation Program

Slow loris rescued by the Indonesia Species Conservation Program

Without a doubt the most important conservation goal of the El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens is working to save endangered species. Recently the Zoo received a report from the Indonesia Species Conservation Program in northern Sumatra summarizing their activities in 2022. We have supported this program since 2018 and are encouraged to learn of ISCP’s efforts in helping to save endangered Sumatran slow lorises.

Slow lorises are easy to catch when their forest habitat is converted to oil palm and rubber plantations . For example, in Aceh, local residents have reported that when a large area of trees were cut a ‘loris man’ came to the area to collect lorises, which cling to cut trees rather than flee, for the pet trade.

Dick Culbert, Wikimedia Creative Commons

According to the ISCP report in 2022 the program rescued 14 individual slow lorises in North Sumatra, West Sumatra and Aceh. All of them were then released back to the forests. ISCP cooperates with the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in rescue and release efforts with other wildlife species including reptiles, leopard cats, songbirds and raptors. BKSDA helps to protect species in Gunung Leuser National Park where in 2022 they released two critically endangered Sumatran tigers.

Slow lorises are the only primates to have a toxic bite. The toxin they produce is lethal to some of the animals they prey on including insects and other arthropods, small birds and reptiles.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature there are nine species of slow loris in South East Asia. All of the nine are vulnerable to extinction and decreasing in number with two species listed as critically endangered and four species listed as endangered. As a result El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens support for this project in Sumatra is very important to the survival of these amazing animals.

At the Zoo you can see a pygmy slow loris in the Nocturnal Asia Forest Exhibit.

Rick LoBello, Education Curator

Photos – Cover Josh More, Wikimedia Creative Commons
Others – ISCP Facebook Page

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