The Duke Lemur Center is celebrating Loris Awareness Week! The Little Fireface Project started Loris Awareness Week this year, running September 16-22, to highlight these amazing little primates and their plight in the wild. Headed by Dr. Anna Nekaris, the Little Fireface Project promotes research of slow and slender lorises, produces educational content about lorises and works hard to reverse the trend of illegal loris smuggling for the pet trade. All week long, the Little Fireface Project blog is hosting amazing stories of loris and the people fighting to protect them. They’re even highlighting celebrities who have supported loris conservation by dedicating Manga-style drawings of each celebrity as a loris! In addition, Dr. Nekaris delivered a lecture entitled “Little Firefaces: Why YouTube Loves the Slow Loris.” Loris Awareness Week is also highlighted through the group’s Facebook and Twitter pages with great loris facts and news.
The Duke Lemur Center houses 3 types of loris: slender loris (Loris tardigradus), slow loris (Nycticebus coucang), and the pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus). So, naturally, the DLC wanted in on Loris Awareness Week. Lorises are prosimian primates, related to the lemurs of Madagascar, and share many characteristics with the lemurs, like the specialized toothcomb for grooming.
Lorises live across Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent and are special among primates for their slow quadrupedalism. Lorises are increasingly threatened by illegal capture and export for the pet trade. Lorises entering the pet trade may suffer terribly, often having their teeth clipped or pulled without anesthesia to minimize risk from their toxic bite. They also might be kept awake during the day (when they normally would be sleeping) to interact with their owners. Viral videos of pet lorises depict them as cute, lovable pets however the animals often appear stressed by the bright lights and activity.
Everyone can do their part to help lorises! Visit the Little Fireface Project’s website to download a loris avatar for your Facebook/Twitter profile picture. You can follow their blog, Facebook and Twitter posts and spread the message to all of your friends, family and followers. You can also keep an eye on the DLC’s blog and social media outlets for information on our work with lorises.