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Group urges end in trading of Indonesia’s endangered primates

Environmental group Protection of Forest and Fauna, or ProFauna, celebrated Indonesian Primate Day on Thursday with a nationwide campaign advocating for an end to the trade of primates in Indonesia, particularly those that are endangered.

The group said three protected primates are widely traded as pets in Indonesia, mainly through online forums and chatrooms: the Javan slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus), the Javan lutung (Trachypithecus auratus) and the silvery gibbon (Hylobates moloch).

All three “are popular with buyers because they are considered cute,” ProFauna spokesman Swasti Prawidya Mukti said.

The Javan slow loris is listed as “critically endangered” by International Union for Conservation of Nature due to rapidly declining habitat and poaching.

The same organization listed the Javan lutung as vulnerable and the silvery gibbon as endangered.

The three species is protected by law, but this has done little to actually protect them, Swasti said, such as enforcement of poaching laws.

“The trade [in protected primates] is no longer done in markets, but has moved online,” she said, adding that the primates are usually sold as babies, and often had their teeth clipped by poachers; adults, particularly lorises, can be quite aggressive.

Protected primates usually fetch between Rp 3 million and Rp 5 million ($240 and $400) online, while non-protected one like the long-tailed macaques sell for around
Rp 300,000.

ProFauna has lobbied several major online forums in Indonesia to ban users from trading endangered species, with mixed results.

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