This species is protected by Indonesian law (No. 5 of 1990) and is listed on CITES Appendix I. It is currently represented in three captive collections (Jakarta, Indonesia; Singapore; Saitama Children’s Zoo, Japan); it should be noted the specimen in Prague Zoo is in fact a N. coucang. There is no viable captive breeding programme, and reproduction in captivity is known to be difficult. Some ecological studies with conservation education components have been completed or are in progress. Training workshops have been conducted to provide law enforcement officers, CITES officials and zoo and rescue centre personnel with improved identification skills to identify Nycticebus spp. within the pet trade. Several rescue centres in the region maintain facilities for confiscated individuals. Numerous attempts have been made to release slow lorises, both monitored and unmonitored, but until more is known about the complexities of taxonomy and ecology of lorises within the region, whether or not these releases make a positive contribution to conservation remains to be seen.
Location InformationThis species is only known from the provinces of Banten, West Java, and at least as far east as the western part of East Java in Indonesia.
Population InformationThis species has been recorded at very low densities (0.02-0.20/km) (Nekaris et al. 2008). Several surveys in large forest blocks revealed few or no slow loris (Ujung Kulon, Halimun-Salak, Gede Pangrango, Masigit Kareumbi, Slamet, Dieng). Some small isolated populations persist in gardens and agricultural lands where they are at high risk from hunting and easily poached for the pet trade; severe population declines in these habitats have been documented (Wirdateti et al. 2004, 2011).
Java is one of the world’s most densely populated areas and has a long history of deforestation. Extensive habitat loss and fragmentation threaten the Javan Slow Loris throughout its range. In comparison to other Indonesian slow lorises, N. javanicus is significantly more vulnerable to anthropogenic activity due to intensive land use by humans (Thorn et al. 2009). Lack of connectivity between protected areas also poses a threat to loris populations, with every forest area containing slow lorises being effectively isolated by several km of intensely modified and unsuitable habitat. The conversion of land to agriculural plantations is correlated with a sharp decline in slow loris population over the last 10 years (Wirdateti and Dahrudin 2011).
This species, like other slow lorises in Indonesia, is caught for use in the pet trade and to a lesser extent for traditional beliefs and folk medicines (Nekaris et al. 2010, Shepherd et al. 2004). Together with other loris species, N. javanicus is one of the most common protected primates found in animal markets in Java (Nekaris et al. 2008, Thorn et al. 2009). Due to their non-saltatory locomotion, their choice of sleeping sites in trees and bamboo that can be cut through and accessed, and nocturnal habits, the animals are easily caught by humans (Nekaris and Bearder 2011). The majority of the trade is to satisfy a large domestic demand, with a smaller proportion being smuggled abroad to destinations like the Middle East and Japan. The trade chain poses a perilous threat for many reasons. Conditions during transport (stuffed in boxes or sacks) and inappropriate husbandry techniques (poor diet and social housing, forced diurnal activity, excessive handling) afterwards result in large mortality rate. Slow lorises are the only venomous primates; to avoid their bites middle men or traders cut or remove teeth, a process that almost invariably leads to the animal’s death. If confiscated, reintroduction to the wild has proven difficult. Animals with no teeth are not viable candidates, and in a two-year study of 11 healthy radio-collared animals released, only two are known to have survived (Moore 2012).
Hybridization poses a real threat both on Java and elsewhere. Some taxa of slow loris are known to hybridize in zoos. Javan Slow Lorises have been observed on animal markets outside Java (e.g. Medan, Bandar Lampung on Sumatra) and other Indonesian slow loris species (N. coucang, N. menagensis) have been observed to Javan markets. Due to the morphological similarity of Nycticebus spp. misidentification is rife. Furthermore, there is a general feeling that ‘if it is a slow loris, release it.’ Not only does this pose welfare risks to the individual, but also translocated individuals may harbour infections and parasites, and could potentially hybridize (Nekaris et al. 2008, Schulze and Groves 2004).
IUCN Red List Account LinkPlease click here to see the species' IUCN Red List Account page.
Andrew Walmsley (category and featured image)