The Kukang Rescue Program

Illegal wildlife trade poses a serious threat to species’ survival worldwide. Although it is widespread in Indonesia, its reduction is being obstructed by weak law enforcement. Among the most commonly trafficked mammal species in Indonesia is the greater slow loris (Nycticebus coucang). Despite being protected both nationally and internationally, it is being sold mainly as a “pet”. Indonesian foundation called “Yayasan Peduli Kelestarian Satwa Liar (Wildlife Preservation Foundation)” leads “The Kukang Rescue Program” which was established near Medan, the Sumatra’s capital city and a frequent transit point for wildlife trafficking, as a response to the alarming situation of the illegal trade in slow lorises. The main aim of The Kukang Rescue Program is to reduce illegal wildlife trade, particularly in this protected prosimian species. To enable it, the program cooperates with local government agencies on wildlife protection and operates a rescue and rehabilitation center for confiscated animals. The absence of such a facility usually represents a great obstacle for competent authorities in confiscating illegally kept animals. Furthermore, the program focuses on education, awareness-raising, community engagement activities, and capacity building. The Kukang Rescue Program is supported by several EAZA zoos and is managed by a group of Czechs in Indonesia together with Indonesians. The program has also gained the support of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) as well as the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).