Sunday, May 26

Woman tried to sell the primate for $300 on social media

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: A slow loris, one of the animals on the endangered species list, was possibly saved from the pot or from becoming a pet as a group of students tactfully negotiated with a person, who was allegedly trying to sell it for $300 (negotiable) on the social media, to give up the primate, Borneo Bulletin reported.

The UBD students, part of the 1StopBrunei Wildlife Club, brought the slow loris all the way to Ulu Belait and released it into the jungle.

The club’s founder M Shavez, along with other Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) students, Amiratul Akmal and Arefah Ashtiani, said they came across an advertisement by the person trying to sell the endangered primate for B$300 in an online social networking platform.

They engaged the woman in a conversation and tried to convince her to hand over the animal to them. “I tried telling her of the endangered status of the slow loris and that selling it was illegal. After a lengthy negotiation, she agreed to let us release it (into the wild),” said Arefah.

The slow loris is one of the many endangered species that is regularly poached and sold as pets. Slow loris typically measure between 240 and 380 mm in length and weigh less than 2kg. Its slow movement, small size and seemingly cuddly appearance make it a sought after pet.

According to Shavez, he has seen slow loris being sold openly at the Jerudong Market for B$300-400. Poaching not only threatens their existence but harms them too as poachers sometimes pull the animal’s teeth, which often results in severe bleeding and leads to its death, to protect themselves against its toxic bite.

Shavez said they specifically chose to release the slow loris at a jungle in Ulu Belait for its pristine condition as it is part of the Heart of Borneo initiative. “Moreover, it’s a vast jungle and we can be sure that there is ample food for the loris. I think because of the jungle’s size and distance, it’ll be safe from poachers as well,” added Shavez.

Meanwhile, on a separate occasion, a venomous snake called the “Malayan Blue Coral” snake was spotted and videotaped by the 1StopBrunei Wildlife Club. The snake has been rarely spotted in Brunei and also is not a common sight in Borneo.

Confirmed by Dr Ulmar Grafe, a scientist at UBD, it is one of the most venomous snakes in the world and as with other coral snakes, there is no anti-venom for it.