A new home in England for rare lorises bred at Kadoorie farm

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 April, 2011, 12:00am


Three rare lorises bred at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden have found a new home in Britain. They are two Bengal slow lorises - male and female - and one male pygmy loris.

The small, slow-moving nocturnal animals normally live in the rainforests of Southeast Asia and southern China.

On Wednesday, the three animals were sent to the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Kent, England.

The Bengal slow lorises, aged four and six and found as strays, were sent to the Kadoorie farm by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 2008 and 2009.

The pygmy loris, aged five, was born in captivity at Kadoorie in 2006 from parents that were transferred from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department in 2000. His father was sent to the same centre in Kent in 2008, while the mother is being kept at Kadoorie.

'We shall continue contacting other agencies or conservation centres to see if they have the capacity to accept our animals,' said an officer at the Kadoorie complex.

Both species are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and have been cited in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This bans all international trade in lorises.

They were threatened by the loss of natural habitats and hunting for medicinal use, the Kadoorie officer said.

It is believed in some Southeast Asian countries that eating loris meat can treat leprosy, and tonics made from lorises are also said to be able to heal wounds and broken bones.

The animals are also in demand as pets, despite having a toxic bite. Often they have their teeth removed before they are sold. Lorises kept as pets often die because of poor diet and care.

'Lorises do not live in Hong Kong,' the Kadoorie officer said. 'So, we suspect most of the lorises found here were brought in through the illegal pet trade. We appeal to people not to buy wildlife as pets and that if they discover any illegal activities, they should tell the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.'