The Bengal Slow Loris, an endangered species, has a free ride home
Heathrow, August 22, 2014 (STAT):-The Bengal Slow Loris, a small species of monkey no larger than a bag of sugar, had been living in the capital Male after police officers confiscated it during a drugs raid. Officers housed the nocturnal creature in a birdcage on Dhoonidhoo, also known as ‘prison island’, for eight months, feeding it baby food and bananas, while they scoured the globe for a suitable new home. Officers named the Loris, which is believed to be male, Kalo, which translates as ‘buddy’.
After hearing of its plight, Dr Alison Cronin, who runs the Ape Rescue Centre at Monkey World in Dorset, put all her years of experience of rescuing animals into practice, embarking upon a complex mission to re-house the primate in the South-West of England.
With other countries unable to help transport the animal, which is one of only a few thousand in existence, Dr Cronin brought the case to the attention of the British authorities and requested permission for it to be brought to the UK.
She described the mission as vital conservation work: “It would have been a huge loss if a healthy, vulnerable animal had to be destroyed, but it was also really important for us to support the Maldivian authorities, and to send a message to other countries around the world that vulnerable creatures don’t need to be put down – organisations like ours will provide support and assistance to ensure that endangered species aren’t allowed to die off.
“I asked British Airways for its help in flying the VIP (very important primate) to the UK, and the airline responded immediately, because it has a history of supporting conservation projects.”
Captain Will Rennie flew the small primate from Male to Gatwick Airport. He said: “Travelling at more than 500mph with us, our special little guest was for once not such a Slow Loris! The news that we had a VIP on board certainly created a buzz among customers in the cabin. We were very happy to offer a free ride – we knew this would be a different experience for our furry friend, so we made the journey as comfortable and cosy as possible.”