About This Project
Ask the ScientistsJoin The Discussion
What is the context of this research?
The basic research question is: "Why are people getting involved in the illegal trade in slow lorises in Indonesia?" Overall, we're hoping to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cultural and social drivers of the illegal trade in Javan slow lorises; we want to understand what cultural values are assigned to slow lorises as commodities, and what social, political, and economic mechanisms contribute to their trade as pets. From this research, we hope to determine the most effective and sensitive ways of slowing and stopping the trade, as well as to develop new strategies for conservation outreach and education about lorises and other endangered species.
What is the significance of this project?
Restricted to the provinces of Banten, West Java, and Central Java in Indonesia, the Javan loris (Nycticebus javanicus) is a small, nocturnal, arboreal primate which also happens to be really adorable. Recently, the cuteness of lorises has lead them to become one of the hottest animals in the exotic pet trade. Popularized by viral YouTube videos with millions of views, lorises are in high demand in countries like the United States, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, and Taiwan, as well as being sought after by many pet collectors in Indonesia. Because of pressure from the pet trade, Javan lorises have recently been classified as 'Endangered' on the IUCN Red List, along with nearly all other species of lorises across Asia. Although lorises are protected by anti-poaching laws in Indonesia, complex historical and political factors have meant that these laws have rarely been enforced. This project wants to develop constructive, alternative, and extra-legal interventions that can help slow and eventually stop the trade in lorises through messaging and outreach, as well as understanding the economic reasons that people get involved in the trade, and what it would take for them to do something else instead.
What are the goals of the project?
The project incorporates two methodologies. The first, ethnographic research, will utilize interviews, participant observation, and discourse analysis to assess sociocultural, economic, and perhaps political reasons that individuals participate in the loris trade, whether as poachers, traders, or consumers. The second methodology involves making use of social network analysis (SNA) and geographic information systems (GIS) to examine connections between actors in the loris trade, identify key individuals and or centers of trade, and track the movement of lorises across geographic space through visual representations. I'm estimating needing roughly $10/day to fund this project. Most of the money will be used for basic research expenses over the course of 8 months, buying all the necessary supplies like notebooks and office supplies, batteries for GPS units and audio recorders, credit for domestic cell phone service, photocopying services, some meals for the researcher while working, and other miscellaneous expenses. I need $335 for licenses to use the special software required for this project--UNICET social network analysis software, and ArcGIS mapping software. We'll use this software to integrate SNA and GIS to visualize where lorises are coming from and where they're going in the underground trade.
All funds raised will go toward daily research expenses and purchasing software required for the project. Any additional funds raised beyond this requested amount will be put to productive use for the project, whether through hiring research assistants, purchasing additional software or small equipment, or creating promotional materials based on the project findings.
Meet the Team
B.A. Anthropology, Minor Biology, Beloit College
Team BioJoe first became interested in human-primate interactions and primate conservation as a first year undergraduate in anthropology and biology. He spent half of 2012 living and working with the Orangutan Health Project in North Sumatra, Indonesia, while conducting research for his honors thesis,which examines the political and cultural aspects of interspecific disease exchange between humans and primates. Beginning in June 2013, Joe will be joining the staff of International Animal Rescue Indonesia to begin research on the trade in Javan lorises.
Joe first became interested in human-primate interactions and primate conservation as a first year undergraduate in anthropology and biology. He spent half of 2012 living and working with the Orangutan Health Project in North Sumatra, Indonesia, while conducting research for his honors thesis,which examines the political and cultural aspects of interspecific disease exchange between humans and primates. Beginning in June 2013, Joe will be joining the staff of International Animal Rescue Indonesia to begin research on the trade in Javan lorises.
Nekaris, A. & Shekelle, M. 2008. Nycticebus javanicus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. www.iucnredlist.org.
Nekaris, A, Shepherd CS, Starr CS, Nijman V. 2010. “Exploring cultural drivers for trade via an ethnoprimatological approach: a case study of slow and slender lorises (Nycticebus and Loris) in South and Southeast Asia,” American Journal of Primatology, 71(10):1-10.
Shepard, Chris. 2010. “Illegal primate trade in Indonesia exemplified by surveys carried out over a decade in North Sumatra, ” Endangered Species Research, 11: 201–205.
About LorisesThe Javan loris (Nycticebus javanicus) is one of several loris species found across two genera, Nycticebus (which means "night monkey!" and refers to slow lorises) and Loris (which refers to slender lorises). There are 4 species found in Indonesia across Sumatra, Borneo, and Java, and in the Indonesian language, they're known as "kukang" (pronounced: koo-kong). For more about slow lorises and their conservation, check out the Yayasan IAR Indonesia website at InternationalAnimalRescue.org
Images courtesy of International Animal Rescue, © 2013
- $1,100Total Donations
- $44.00Average Donation