Critically-endangered abandoned Loris finds a home in Dubai

By Angel Chan

DUBAI 16 March 2019: The Green Planet and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MoCCAE, teamed up to help find a new home for an abandoned Slow Loris found on the streets of Dubai.

The loris was found abandoned in a box on the streets of the UAE. Originating from the depths of Asia, the primate is a CITES 1 animal, which means it is at significant risk of extinction in the wild, sharing its critical status with African Elephants, Gorilla and Orangutans.

Paul Parker, General Manager – Family Entertainment Centres, said, “We are so happy to be able to provide him with a home. The Slow Loris is a critically endangered species, meaning they should only be in captivity for breeding purposes.”

The Green Planet hopes his rescue can help put the spotlight back on the illicit animal trade in the region. Adopting a zero-tolerance approach to illegal wildlife trafficking, the UAE Government has recently clamped down on online animal trading, and has strengthened security on the country’s land, sea and air borders.

To motivate people to join the fight against illegal wildlife trade and make them comprehend the magnitude of the harm this trade inflicts on endangered species and global biodiversity, the UAE has significantly stepped up its efforts to raise public awareness of the importance of ensuring that wild animals remain in the wild.

As part of this priority, the government has joined forces with various stakeholders from the public and private sectors to run awareness campaigns and workshops in diverse locations across the country, such as shopping malls, local markets, airports, schools and universities.

Furthermore, the UAE Government collaborates with other governments and intergovernmental organisations, such as the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime that comprises the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Bank and the World Customs Organisation, in addition to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, to identify and combat wildlife crime.

Hiba Al Shehhi, Acting Director of the Biodiversity Department at MoCCAE, said, “We are confident that our actions are making an impact on illegal wildlife trade in the region. We have strict controls in place to curb the trade, however, we believe awareness needs to be front and centre. We are happy that this Slow Loris was lucky enough to have been found and taken care of professionally at The Green Planet. We hope his story can help educate the community and paint a clearer picture of the dangers of illegal wildlife trade.”

There are nine species of slow lorises in total – the Bengal, Bornean, Greater, Hiller’s, Javan, Kayan, Philippine, Pygmy and Sody’s, however, for the time being, the loris, dubbed ‘Lonely’, will be taking centre stage at the Green Planet for guests to meet, view and educate themselves on this fascinating mammal.

Located in City Walk, the impressive rainforest glass bio-dome will now be the new home for the slow loris, an endangered species and one of the rarest primates on earth. He can be found on the understory level, located on the second floor within the indoor tropical forest.