Slow loris to be euthanised as Environment Ministry runs out of options

The Ministry of Environment has decided that an illegally trafficked slow loris – a species recognised as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN red list – will be euthanised.

“After running out of other options, the ministry sees euthanasia as the only option available,” stated Assistant Director for the Environment Department Ilham Atho Mohamed.

“This decision does not affect the wild population or the conservation potential of the species. It will also help prevent further illegal trade of such species and  prevent the specimen from re-entering illegal trade,” she contended.

The slow loris was discovered by police in a January drugs raid in the capital Malé, along with more than MVR300,000 in cash.

“In the capacity of the Management Authority of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Maldives, we have already explored all options and have come to a decision from the Ministry’s side,” Ilham told Minivan News today.

According to Ilham, there were three possible options when dealing with the animal – keeping it in captivity, returning it to the wild, or having the animal put down.

She explained that these are the three options given in accordance with the CITES resolution on ‘Disposal of confiscated live specimens of species’ which she noted was in line with international best practice.

The first option of captivity was not available in the Maldives, she noted, with no rescue centres, humane societies, or relevant university facilities.

As the CITES resolution details a number of other obstacles to keeping the creature in captivity in the Maldives, Ilham explained that the ministry had attempted to find a home for the slow loris elsewhere.

“Through the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums an announcement was made and two parties showed interest.  One from the Czech Republic and other from Brazil,” though Ilham explained that the interested parties in Brazil had not responded after initial enquiries.

Issues soon arose with the transfer to the Czech Republic, however, as the import of the animal could not be approved as it is not in accordance with World Organisation for Animal Health.

Furthermore, flights landing in Maldives are neither willing to take the animal, nor do  they meet with the IATA Live Animal Regulations. Alternatively, sea transport proved prohibitively expensive.

The second option of returning the animal to the wild was not available in the Maldives, stated Ilham, as the Maldives does not have the wild habitat of the slow loris.

“For countries that do not have the above two options this [euthanasia] is the only option and the least expensive one.”

“The resolution mentioned above also states ‘it cannot be overstressed that euthanasia may frequently be the  simplest and most humane option available’ and gives several clear advantages,” she explained.

Unnatural habitat

Following the discovery of the a number of exotic and illegal animals by police this year, the government has moved to step up customs security, in an effort to stem the flow of illegal animals being trafficked into the Maldives.

“We have instructed cargo checks and consider giving more attention to these, and will report any findings,” said Senior Superintendant of Customs Ahmed Niyaz, adding that customs were working closely with the police.

Any dangerous animals that are confiscated are handed over to the police, he said, adding that “if an animal is protected under convention they will inform the Ministry of Environment. They will then check with international bodies.”

In the majority of cases the dangerous animals will then be sent to other countries, due to insufficient space or expertise in Malé, he explained.

Aside from those trafficked, non-native species such as crocodiles have also found themselves in the Maldives, resulting in dilemmas regarding the appropriate way to handle these unusual arrivals.

In 1998, a small crocodile – or kimboo in Dhivehi – was found off the coast of a local island. The animal was brought back to the Malé and placed in a small cage as a central park attraction, where it remains to this day.

Kimboo occasionally makes it into local media and even has his own Facebook page calling for his release from his now-cramped quarters, which the World Society for the Protection of Animals has called “entirely inadequate”

Similar to the slow loris, attempts to have the crocodile relocated to have yet to produce results, with financial and legal obstacles barring kimboo’s path out of the country.

The discovery of two more crocodiles in early 2011 raised serious concerns around the containment and treatment of animals in the Maldives.


13 thoughts on “Slow loris to be euthanised as Environment Ministry runs out of options”

  1. Looks like the loris could have fared better in the hands of the drugs dealers. Nice job, PPM government! You can't even take care of an endangered animal without killing it. The criminals did a better job of taking care of the poor animal than you. Bravo. Keep it up for 5 years and we'll see who is re-elected.

  2. Nah, they're just saying that so no one will ask questions. They're just gonna auction it off to global criminals via the artur brothers to earn a few more capital cash for their heroin empire.

  3. Wow! What a stupid regime! Can't even manage to broker a deal with a foreign state to save the life of this poor creature! Just wow! A regime that can't even take care of a single endangered animal, can't take care of its own people! Good luck with catching criminals!

  4. I suppose euthanasia performed by a Maldivian will be out of the question for religious reasons, as it is against Alla's will to put animals down unless for Slaughter (halal). As an atheist and authorized Danish veterinary surgeon in possesion of a letter of no objection to practice in The Maldives issued by your Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, I can offer my service and euthanize the animal, as it will be my will and not Allah's that count in this matter. I have during my career euthanized thousands of animals for various reasons and can do it very humanely. Soren Nielsen DVM

  5. The slow loris is critically endangered and should, according to CITES be returned to the country of origin and we in Indonesia are much willing to receive and rehabilitate this slow loris back to its natural habitat, the authorities in the maldives should contact the CITES auhtorities asap to prepare safe return of this endangered primate!

  6. Dear Editor,

    Slow Lorus is a endangered and found in Indonesia .

    there is a rescue center in Jakarta that would take this lorus if the government would allow. However, the logistics and costs would need to be assessed.

    I can be emailed at [email protected] if the government thinks this is an alternative.

    Thank you,
    Mark Berman
    Earth Island Institute

  7. Soren Nielsen on Fri, 11th Apr 2014 4:46 AM

    As a vet you are supposed to protect and save the lives of animals not destroy them, unless they are suffering.

    Looks like you are no different to a butcher instead of a registered Vet. Shame on you

  8. Slow Loris is also found in Sri Lanka, have to check which specie is that and where this belong. Any case I strong suggest instead sacrifice the animal , contact Sri Lanka Embassy or the Zoo in Colombo, to transport the animal to there for check up and classified. Is much more cheap flight to Colombo and there are more flights available. Is really sad punish the animal with dead for be traffic.. If I can help found the solution please contact me.

  9. Enough of this 'Loris' story ..

    There are humans living in far poor conditions and people do not bother.

  10. @DMF
    Get a life and a job! Putting the animal in a cage that's too small with inadequate food, care, medicine, etc. is not better than being humanely euthanized by a qualified vet.

    The "kimboo" situation is an absolute disgrace. And if Maldives kept the slow loris it would be the same pathetic situation. I'll never understand religious nuts who believe a tortured life is better than no life just because they're too lazy to provide actual care and compassion. (and that goes for all major world religions/fairy tales)

  11. waste of time on Sat, 12th Apr 2014 1:26 PM

    Your name say's all I need to know about you.

    I never mentioned keeping the animal in a cage. I stated a vet shouldn't be promoting himself as a murderer of innocent creatures.

    The option should be to return it to a safe environment and there are many options available if officials get off their fat arses and do something about it, killing is the last resort.

    I am no religious nut, I never mentioned religion in my post. I have a very well paid job and a fantastic life, so I don't need a waste of time giving me life advice.

  12. "if officials get off their fat arses and do something about it, killing is the last resort."

    Above quote shows how little you know about Maldives. Putting an animal down to avoid cruel and inhumane treatment is not murder. Humans are not respected in Maldives so you can forget about humane treatment for animals.

  13. waste of time on Sat, 12th Apr 2014 8:10 PM

    I know plenty about the Maldives as my family live in Male and I visit at least 5 times a year.

    The problem is you are all your own worst enemy as you continue to elect people who have no experience outside of your island nation.

    If you want to change how Maldivians are treated by their own people, elect officials who aren't in politics for personal gain. Being born into a political family isn't a qualification to be a world leader, except in the Maldives.

    You voted for these people, live with it or do something about it instead of whinging on this forum about how we don't understand life in the Maldives.


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