The amazing folks of the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand (WFFT) have rescued many injured and abandoned animals since their establishment in 2003, including elephants, monkeys, and muntjacs. The organization’s noble mission statement is: “We aim to rescue those animals who have suffered at the hands of humans, rehabilitating and releasing where possible, and caring for those who are unable to be returned to the wild. We aim to provide the best standard of living and a life as close to wild as possible for these animals.”
Recently, they took in a new rescued animal who was in desperate need of their help: a baby slow loris who had been maltreated and kept as a pet, in highly inappropriate conditions. This loris is the fiftieth one to be rescued by WFFT this year.
The beautiful animal was in a desperate condition when he first arrived at the WFFT’s rehabilitation center.
On their Facebook page, the Foundation said, “This loris was kept as a pet after it was bought from a poacher or dealer (it is unclear to us) and was fed the wrong food/diet and kept in a small enclosure for was too long. This little guy is suffering serious bone deficiency, due to severe malnutrition. We are fighting to save (his) life. PLEASE do not keep lorises as pets!”
After his initial treatment, the terrified loris was put into quarantine.
Staring out at the unfamiliar environment around him, he could only wonder what his fate was to be.
The undeniable cuteness of these animals (together with the prevalence of adorable-but-misleading videos such as “Tickling Slow Loris,” which went viral on YouTube a few years ago) means that they are often targeted by poachers wishing to sell them into the exotic pet trade.
However, being forced to live amongst misinformed humans who have no real idea of what it takes to care for a loris, is just about the worst thing that can be done to them.
The procurement of these animals for the exotic pet trade invariably involves tearing a young loris from their families and removing their teeth (which are poisonous) so that they do not bite their new “owners.” For every loris who is successfully captured by poachers, many more die because of the poachers’ botched attempts.
Slow lorises are also under threat because of the traditional medicine trade, as they are hunted in order for their body parts to be used as a “cure” for ailments like stomach aches and sexually transmitted diseases. Organizations such as the WFFT are on the front lines of the fight to protect them. You can help the Foundation with their work by making a symbolic adoption, donating, or participating in one of their volunteer programs.
Let’s hope this wonderful little guy pulls through!
All images: Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand/Facebook