Critically-endangered slow lorises saved from illegal Facebook sale

Dozens of critically-endangered slow lorises have been saved in Indonesia from being sold on Facebook by wildlife traffickers.

Some of the 34 "extremely stressed" Javan primates had bite wounds suspected to have been caused by being crammed together in small crates.

Five people were arrested following the seizure of 34 slow lorises. Credit: International Animal Rescue /PA Wire

Six had been shot with air rifles, some had their teeth clipped and several were pregnant. One had given birth since being seized in the West Java province capital of Bandung.

Five people - three suspected hunters and two dealers - were arrested in the operation carried out by the special criminal investigation directorate of West Java regional police.

Slow loris are sold for £3 to dealers who then trade them for up to £31. Credit: International Animal Rescue /PA Wire

Officials at East Sussex-based International Animal Rescue (IAR) said the nocturnal primates are being sold via Facebook and other social media by animal traffickers seeking big profits.

Investigators said hunters who capture the animals in the wild sell them for just £3 to dealers who then trade them on for between £12.50 and £31.

Keeping slow lorises as pets is banned under Indonesian law, but many are sold openly every day in markets. The Javan slow loris is among the International Union for Conservation of Nature's 25 most endangered primates in the world.

Slow loris are one of the 25 most endangered primates. Credit: International Animal Rescue /PA Wire

Numbers in the wild have been decimated by the illegal trade in wildlife as pets. The seized slow lorises are now undergoing intensive care treatment at IAR's primate rehabilitation centre in Java.

Karmele Llano Sanchez, the programme director of IAR Indonesia, said: "Stopping these syndicates is crucial for the survival of so many endangered species, including the slow loris."

The slow lorises are now receiving intensive care at the International Animal Rescue Primate Rehabilitation Centre in Bogor, Java. Credit: International Animal Rescue /PA Wire

Wendi Prameswari, the animal care manager at IAR's centre in Bogor, Java, said the slow lorises will go through a quarantine process and receive close medical attention.

She said: "They need very intensive treatment and care during the first few days in particular and often some of them succumb to the high stress levels, infections, and injuries received during capture, packing, transportation and selling."