THE HAGUE—Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species worked rapidly this morning to increase global protection for the slow loris, an endangered primate found in tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia.
“Being nocturnal and small these primates have been ignored for some time despite the serious peril confronting them throughout their range. Today’s decision will dramatically reduce the enormous, unsustainable off-takes they currently experience and will contribute positively to their long-term survival,” noted Dr. Sandra Altherr speaking on behalf of Pro Wildlife, a German nongovernmental organization and member of the Species Survival Network (SSN).
The Kingdom of Cambodia proposed to increase the loris’ status under the Convention by transferring it from Appendix II to Appendix I, thus prohibiting all commercial trade in the species. Sadly, these endearing animals are taken by the tens of thousands to be sold as pets or used in traditional medicine. As a consequence, populations of all five species have suffered a serious decline and only recently, four slow loris species were recommended for an uplisting in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
“Our research demonstrates that international and national trade in slow lorises is depleting the species at an increasing rate and we are glad the Parties have taken this information on board in reaching their important decision,” said Dr Barbara Maas, CEO of Care for the Wild International, also a member of SSN.
Distribution: tropical and subtropical rainforests with dense canopies in South and Southeast Asia; genus now recognized to cover five species; N. bengalensis (recognised as a valid species in 1997): Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam; N. coucang: Indonesia (Sumatra), Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand; N. pygmaeus: Viet Nam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, China; N. menagensis (recognized as a species in 2003 and again in 2007): Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia (Borneo).
Threats: national and international trade as pets and for traditional medicine and food; habitat destruction and degradation; random reintroductions of captive specimens to forests distant from point of origin
Trade: heavily exploited for local and international trade; almost all specimens in trade have been caught in the wild at a rate that far exceeds the low reproductive rate of the genus; increasing market demand due to economic changes and human population growth in region; individual species are protected in many range States but laws are poorly enforced, species are difficult to distinguish in trade, and illegal trade far exceeds recorded legal trade.
For more information contact:
Adam M. Roberts, Press Officer,
In The Hague: 06-5213 6798
WORLD FORUM CONVENTION CENTRE
10, Churchillplein NL-2508 THE HAGUE