His name is Buddy, and he’s one lucky little slow loris.
Police in the Maldives seized Buddy, or “Kalo” as they called him, during a drug raid in January 2014. Buddy was undoubtedly on the brink of becoming yet another illegally trafficked Bengal slow loris until the authorities confiscated him. Even better, the Maldivian police did everything they could for Buddy for over eight months.
Officers fed him baby food and bananas, housing him in a bird cage while they made global inquiries to find someone who could properly care for him. It was a discouraging quest. Under other circumstances, Buddy likely would have been euthanized.
Monkey World to the Rescue
Dr. Alison Cronin came to Buddy’s aid. She is the director of Monkey World, a British organization that works with governments around the world to stop primate poaching. A big part of Monkey World’s mission includes the rehabilitation of neglected and abused primates rescued from illegal traffickers. Dr. Cronin got word that Maldives authorities had confiscated a loris and began looking for a way to save it.
Despite the fact that it’s nearly impossible to import an animal from an overseas location without knowing its medical history and country of origin, Dr. Cronin convinced the U.K. to allow it in Buddy’s case.
“It would have been a huge loss if a healthy, vulnerable animal had to be destroyed,” Dr. Cronin told The Guardian, “but it was also really important for us to support the Maldivian authorities, and to send a message to other countries around the world that vulnerable creatures don’t need to be put down – organizations like ours will provide support and assistance to ensure that endangered species aren’t allowed to die off.”
A Slow Loris Does Not Make a Good Pet, Yet Trafficking Goes On
Buddy is a Bengal slow loris, a type of endangered primate found in India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, China and Thailand. The largest type of loris, the Bengal is described by some as about the size of a bag of sugar. Only a few thousand are thought to remain in the wild.
All lorises are at great risk these days because unthinking people want them as pets. Viral videos showing how “cute” they are fuel the illegal exotic animal trafficking industry to an incredible extent. As we’ve reported before, think twice before sharing adorable videos of endangered animals. Yes, they’re very sweet, but you might inadvertently be helping to encourage their poaching.
Fortunately for Buddy, he escaped that fate. He gets a second chance to live a healthy, natural life.
Buddy Flies to Sanctuary and (Maybe) Gets a Mate, Too
“This has never been done before, to move endangered species overseas from the Maldives,” Dr. Cronin said at a press conference. “This has been an amazing, unprecedented international effort.”
Buddy flew the 5,000 miles from the Maldives to the U.K. in mid-August. He will spend four months at Monkey World in quarantine to make sure he’s healthy. After that, he’s off to the Shaldon Wildlife Trust in Devon — and possibly to a new love match with a female loris already there named (wait for it) Doris.
“Everybody in the Maldives can feel pleased and proud of both the law enforcement and the government ministry for bothering to stick with this for so long,” Dr. Cronin told Minivan News.
Indeed. A lot of people who actually cared about what happened to Buddy deserve a big round of applause.
“We’ve been doing this work around the world for more than 25 years and I was impressed, heart-warmed and felt that everybody here deserved support and encouragement for what they’ve done,” Dr. Cronin told Minivan News.
Heartwarming is indeed the perfect word for this story. If we had a little more international cooperation, imagine all the good we could do in the world.
Good luck, Buddy. Enjoy your new home and your new friends. Buy a lottery ticket, little guy, because your luck is running strong these days.
Read more: animal sanctuary, animal trafficking, endangered species, exotic pets, illegal poaching, international cooperation, maldives, monkey world, pet primate trade, rare animal trafficking, slow loris, u.k.
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