THE survival of the slow loris in Cambodia is being threatened by the wildlife trade as well as the widespread belief among practitioners of traditional medicine that the small noctural primate has healing powers, according to a new study in the American Journal of Primatology.
“Slow lorises are prized in Cambodia by traditional Khmer medicine practitioners who claim they cure 100 diseases,” according to the study, which notes that it is believed the animal can be used to heal wounds and broken bones as well as assist in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and asthma.
It goes on to cite a study on pygmy lorises in Mondulkiri province that found that four out of every 13 tracked by researchers were eventually hunted and killed.
Vincent Nijman, a researcher at the Oxford Wildlife Trade Research Group and a co-author of the study, said Sunday that hunting has forced the animal to the brink of extinction.
“The hunting of the animal is so huge, that they are almost gone, and it’s only to do with hunting,” he said.
Chheang Dany, deputy chief of Forestry Administration’s wildlife protection office, said the animals should be left alone so that they can bolster tourism. “The people should not use the traditional medicines, as the lorises could attract more tourists to Cambodia,” he said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THET SAMBATH