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Title: Ethics, ecology and evolution of Indonesian slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.) rescued from the pet trade
Author: Moore, Richard
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2012
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Slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.) are small-bodied nocturnal primates found throughout South-east Asia. All slow lorises are threatened by habitat loss and trade for pets and traditional medicine. They are easily distinguishable from other primates by a myriad of unique morphological, behavioural, physiological and ecological characteristics, yet are amongst the least-known of all primates. During February 2010 and March 20111 assisted a reintroduction programme for slow lorises initiated by International Animal Rescue (IARI) at their rescue centre in Java, Indonesia. Throughout the reintroduction process, I collected data that would enhance the reintroduction process, but also provide a deeper understanding of their behaviour, ecology and evolution. I analyse data compiled by IARI over a four year period revealing demographic trends in slow lorises admitted to the rescue centre and discuss the role that rescue centres and reintroduction programmes have in regard to their contribution to conservation. Rescue centres working in collaboration with local governments have the potential to help mitigate trade through ensuring better enforcement and awareness campaigns. I conclude that they do have an important role in conservation. I examine the presence of stereotypic behaviours at IARI in relation to various intrinsic and extrinsic factors. 33% of slow lorises displayed stereotypies. Time in captivity and type of social group are shown to be significant predictors of stereotypies. For better welfare in captivity and for increased reintroduction success these findings should be addressed further. I monitored six reintroduced Javan slow lorises on Mount Salak, Java using radio telemetry. Of the feeding observations noted, floral nectar of Calliandra calothyrsus comprised 90% of the total. A ii combination of excessive flower visitation, non-destructive feeding and pollen observed on the faces of lorises suggests potential pollination of this species and reveals possible evolutionary implications. I analysed 89 photos of slow loris face masks in relation to antipredator defence. I conclude that the pelage colours recorded have probably evolved for maximum signalling effect. When combined with the slow lorises' chemical defence mechanism I propose that the distinctive facemasks in slow lorises could serve as a form of aposematism. I postulate that the Javan and Bengal slow lorises actively mimic the spectacled cobra (Naja naja). Although the evidence appears to support this theory, more studies are necessary for validation. In conclusion, I believe that my study has shown that rescue centres are an untapped resource for conservation, awareness and learning. They often house a multitude of exotic and threatened species that are not common in zoos and difficult to study in the wild. By studying these animals in close proximity we can learn a great deal about improving captive welfare, conservation and evolution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available