Illegal slow loris trade speeding up, as Monkey World rescues another infant from black market in Lebanon

Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre grew their loris group this week, with the arrival of Nora, an eight- month old Bengal slow loris. The rescue operation was carried out by Monkey World director Dr Alison Cronin and Animals Lebanon, after the baby loris was confiscated by the Lebanese government from a Beirut pet shop. The animal has had a traumatic start to life, being illegally stolen from the wild and smuggled into Lebanon to be sold on the underground market for the sum of $2000.

Nora was the first endangered animal to be confiscated under the new Animal Protection and Welfare laws in Lebanon, and her case will be moved to the courts for prosecution. At a tender three months old when confiscated, tiny Nora weighed just 130g, and should have been nursing from her mother.

These small nocturnal primates are increasingly being hunted from the wild for the pet trade, and demand seems to be on the rise after the trend of “tickling loris” videos on social media. They show the small primates being “tickled”, which causes them to raise their arms above the head. Viewers may deem this as cute, but this behaviour is actually a defence mechanism for loris, as they lick toxic secretions that are released from a gland on their arms in preparation to deliver a venomous bite. The tickling is actually torture for this nocturnal primate.

Animals Lebanon and Monkey World worked tirelessly to save the young loris and prepare it for its move to the Dorset Rescue Centre, where it will join four adult slow loris, Bu, Bruce, Nicki and Axl. Nora was accompanied by Dr Alison Cronin and Nora’s carers from Animals Lebanon and thanks to support and special dispensation from British Airways and IAG Cargo, little Nora was able to travel in the cabin to ensure she was safe throughout the 4.5 hour journey.

A spokesperson from Animals Lebanon has said “a huge thankyou to everyone who made this possible. Nora is safe now, and we are following up on the court case to make sure this does not go unpunished”

Monkey World are specialists in caring for these little-studied, nocturnal primates as they have been working in Vietnam for more than 10 years, assisting with the release of rehabilitated loris back into the wild. Sadly, this is not possible for Nora as her country of origin is unknown but she will be given an adoptive family of her own kind and the specialist care that she needs at Monkey World.

Park director, Dr Alison Cronin said “Nora’s confiscation and rescue in Lebanon shows that these endangered nocturnal primates are being smuggled around the globe for the illegal pet trade. She is the 7th loris we have brought to the park in the past 4 years. Monkey World exists to assist governments to stop primate smuggling and we are pleased to be able to offer Nora a home with companionship of her own kind and the specialist care that she needs. The UK authorities, British Airways, and their parent company IAG all joined the Nora task force to save and protect loris!”

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