CZAAWE Resource Article

Welfare impacts of the illegal wildlife trade in a cohort of confiscated greater slow lorises, Nycticebus coucang
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Illegal harvesting and trade are major forces behind population declines of wild slow lorises (genus Nycticebus). The impacts of the wildlife trade on individual slow lorises have not been as well described. In this article, we describe quantitatively the consequences of the wildlife trade for 77 greater slow lorises, N. coucang, who were confiscated en masse and brought to Cikananga Wildlife Center in Indonesia. Medical records indicated that in total, 28.6% of the slow lorises died within the first 6 months, mostly due to traumatic injury, and all the infants died. The greatest sources of morbidity were external wounds (33.1% of 166 total medical events) and dental problems (19.3%). Of the surviving individuals, 25.4% displayed abnormal behavior. Behavioral observations indicated that healthy adults (n = 3) spent 48.2% of their active period performing stereotypies. These data illustrate the physical and behavioral impacts of the illegal wildlife trade on the welfare of slow lorises. We suggest that sharing these individual stories may help generate empathy and educate the public about the impacts of the exotic companion-animal (pet) trade on nonhuman animal welfare.