Sunday, December 19, 2010

Slow Lorises Highlight Indonesia's Need for Stronger Enforcement

Slow Loris

Wildlife activists in Indonesia had recently announced that they had found eighteen endangered Sunda slow lorises being sold openly in Jakarta. The discovery was made just a day before government officials and conservationists held a seminar, which teaches about the threats these primitive cute-looking primates are facing. It was organized by International Animal Rescue Indonesia, which has identified the illegal wildlife trade as the chief contributor to the animals' decline in the wild and for high rate of premature death in captivity. According to TRAFFIC, its staff had discovered that the animals were displayed in cages in front of the Jatinegara Market in East Jakarta on December 10th. The wildlife trade monitoring network also further added that one cage contained six lorises packed together. TRAFFIC Southeast Asia's deputy regional director Chris R. Shepherd stated that the lack of law enforcement is the main problem for the species' decline. He further added that the only loris protected under the Indonesian law was the Javan slow loris, which has listed as the nations 25 most endangered primates since 2008. The other two subspecies include the Malay and Borneo slow loris. The trade in all three of these lorises is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which was accepted by Indonesia but not ratified.

I completely feel the same way as Mr. Shepherd regarding the protection of these unique primates. Indonesia really has to strengthen its law enforcement, in order to protect this species and prevent further decline. In my opinion, the first step would be for the nation's government to ratify the prohibition in the trade of these primates. However, that will still not stop the operators of the illegal wildlife trade from doing what they do best. The key is to have stronger law enforcement, along with public education in knowing the importance of species' role in Indonesia's jungle ecosystem. If the slow loris disappears, then it will lead to major ecological imbalance such as overpopulation of insects which these primates feed on. Without the loris and any other creature that plays an important role in Indonesia's jungles, life will be turned upside-down.

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