Ode to a Loris

Credit: Dr. Karmele Llano Sánchez of the International Animal Rescue

Credit: Dr. Karmele Llano Sánchez of the International Animal Rescue

Climbing, creeping, exploring and hunting,
The sun plummets  and they don’t stop moving,
From India to Indonesia roaming the woods,
Feeding off insects, eggs, gum and other goods.

For this animal that we all know as the loris,
Should have no other home than the forest,
Afraid of the light and with a poisonous bite,
With few friends or allies they now face a fight.

Thanks to medicine, poaching and outright theft,
The Asian jungles are now largely bereft,
Whilst they’re not just fluff balls or a pretty face,
In the environment and ecology they have a place.

Awareness, enlightenment and education,
We can all play a part in helping to save them,
With too much torture, suffering, killing and pain,
By contributing a little there is so much to gain.

WOMAD

No I am not picking my nose.

The home of all thing loris for an evening.

The World of Music Arts and Dance festival is an event which takes place in various locations across the globe, aiming to bring people together to celebrate musical diversity. One of these gatherings was last weekend at Bristol Zoo, where the Little Fireface Project happened to have a stall.

Not knowing how small Bristol Zoo is, I’d over enthusiastically booked an 8am train from London to allow myself ample time there. Following a bitter dispute with my snooze button at around 5:45am, some impromptu training eventually got me to Bristol on time… But still six hours ahead of anyone else.

Fear not though, for if there’s anywhere I know how to waste time, it’s a zoo. Especially when there are red pandas, lemurs, and of course slow lorises about. Having almost started an argument with someone who referred to the two pygmy slow lorises present as “horrible little things,” it was then time to move on to the main event.

I had done very, very little in the way of preparation. Unless purchasing a sweatband and wearing running shorts counts. After introductions, I was left to hurriedly produce some ‘business cards’ with this website’s details, whilst the team faced a few of their own technical gremlins (pun intended).

With crowds streaming in, I’ll admit to feeling a little stage fright. Such an experience is completely new to me, though thankfully I had Dr Nekaris herself on hand to take lead and I soon learned what was required. Time flew and petition signatures and ‘name a loris’ entrants arrived in greater numbers. Of particular popularity were face painting and mask making, resulting in dozens of little (or should I say big?) lorises running around the grounds.

Realising that standing behind a table I appeared only as an idiot unnecessarily wearing a sweatband, I put more effort into promoting Run Loris, Run! but it was perhaps the wrong environment. I was more than happy however, to talk lorises, raise awareness and encourage other donations. Considering there were two PhD students on our other tables, I don’t think I did too bad a job. My arts and crafts skills are awful anyway.

With rain setting in, we went from part-blocking Bristol Zoo’s biggest attraction to totally blocking their lions. Who are the ‘kings of the jungle’ now, eh? Possibly upset by the music, this also made for the somewhat unique occurrence of having lions repeatedly roar in my direction from roughly ten feet away when talking to people.

Face painting besides, the pace slowed and we were left to discuss other ideas, as well as lorises’ relationships with orangutans (not good), the Jungle Gremlins of Java production, and a quick demonstration of loris finding techniques in the wild. Hopefully one day I’ll see them as they’re meant to be.

I departed then, only a couple of cards lighter but content with my night’s work and having had a lot of fun. Plus with a potential lecture attendance and rumours of a video, the best should be yet to come…

A huge ‘terima kasih’ to those who have donated so far. Thanks to your support I have now doubled my initial target of £250, which will mean even more loris lives saved.