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Monkey World News

Endangered monkey that was seized in a drugs raid is flown more than 5,000 miles from the Maldives t

18 August 2014

• Bengal Slow Loris is a species of monkey no bigger than a bag of sugar

• Police kept him in a birdcage and fed him baby food and bananas

• They called him Kalo which means 'Buddy' in local language

• Now at Monkey World in Dorset where he will have a friend called Doris

British Airways is used to flying VIPs around the world but a recent passenger was one of their more unusual.

The 'World's Favourite Airline' flew a monkey more than 5,000 miles from the Maldives to start a new life in the UK.

A Bengal Slow Loris, a small species of monkey no larger than a bag of sugar, was confiscated by police during a drugs raid in the capital Malé.

Police kept Kalo in a birdcage on Dhoonidhoo for eight months, feeding it baby food and bananas.

The police did not know what to do with the primate which is a nocturnal creature and kept it in a birdcage on Dhoonidhoo, also known as 'prison island', for eight months, feeding it baby food and bananas.

They called him Kalo, which means 'buddy' and began searching for a home. His plight came to the attention of Dr Alison Cronin who runs the Ape Rescue Centre at Monkey World in Dorset.

Other carriers refused to transport Kalo so Dr Cronin contacted the government and said that the monkey must come to the UK as an important conservation task.

She said: 'It would have been a huge loss if a healthy, vulnerable animal had to be destroyed, 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 – organisations like ours will provide support and assistance to ensure that endangered species aren't allowed to die off.

'I asked British Airways for its help in flying the VIP (very important primate) to the UK, and the airline responded immediately, because it has a history of supporting conservation projects.'

Maldivian police called him Kalo, which means 'buddy' and began searching for a home

Captain Will Rennie flew the small primate from Malé to Gatwick. He said: 'Travelling at more than 500mph with us, our special little guest was for once not such a Slow Loris. The news that we had a VIP on board certainly created a buzz among customers in the cabin. We were very happy to offer a free ride – we knew this would be a different experience for our furry friend, so we made the journey as comfortable and cosy as possible.'

Gabriella Tamasi, IAG Cargo's Global Product Manager responsible for live animal transportation, arranged for the Slow Loris to fly to the UK. Miss Tamasi said: 'This was an unprecedented operation from Malé Airport. The welfare of the animals we transport is our top priority, so we always adhere to IATA live animal regulations. Every detail had to be right – from the size of the container that the Loris was travelling in, to the way it was secured, and the temperature in the hold. We felt very strongly that with so few of these creatures in existence, this was something we had to help with.'

The small monkey will spend the next four months in quarantine at Monkey World. It is then expected to begin a new life at the Shaldon Wildlife Trust in Devon, with a new friend, a Slow Loris called Doris, who has been without a companion since she arrived in the UK fifteen years ago.

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