Greetings from Little Fireface Project’s (LFP) mountain perch in lovely West Java, Indonesia! We are entering the second year of our field studies concerning the Javan slow loris. We are getting better acquainted with the local primate (human and loris!) populations by conducting nightly surveys, providing education programs in the local schools, and sponsoring conservation and community development programs involving the entire community.
This past month, much of our time was dedicated to organizing our Slow Loris Pride Days. This week-long set of events was held in our local village, focusing on the slow loris and promoting our conservation messaging. To kick off our event, we organized a visit to the local primary school and asked the children to make drawings of lorises to use as decoration for the events.
We also held a contest in the school, asking students to name one of our new loris babies. Our visit was a rousing success! We received over 100 beautiful loris drawings and a broad selection of baby names to choose from. The children were very creative and some of the drawings were incredibly advanced for primary school-aged children!
The next big event was the kick-off of our local youth and adult football tournaments. You may not be surprised to hear that football is a popular sport in Indonesia and that our local tournament was taken very seriously! It was amazing to see how skilled many of the young players were and how passionately they played the game. The adult tournament brought a lot of spectators, as these teams were playing for the top prize of village bragging rights!
After the arrival of LFP’s Director Dr. Anna Nekaris, we visited the local secondary school to introduce our new children’s book, Slow Loris Forest Protector (written in Bahasa Indonesian), and asked the children to make loris masks and kites for the parade. The book presentation was a smash hit and the children loved making their crafts. On the day of the parade, they all arrived with their masks and kites and walked with them through the village to the football pitch.
The children joined hands and shouted “KUKANG!” (local name for loris) for all the village to hear! Once we arrived at the football pitch, we found local artists playing traditional music and dancing. Last, but certainly not least, was the adult football final, which brought over 2,000 people to our celebration! After a nail-biting round of decisive penalty kicks, the game was over and we had a new village champion! Following the trophy and closing ceremony, there was more traditional music and dancing enjoyed by all. It was a wonderful way to showcase the loris, as well as the spirit of the local people.
We look forward to hosting many more events and education programs within our village. Our goal is to instill pride in the local community and motivate them to protect lorises and their natural habitat. Starting with the youngest children and working our way up to the oldest village inhabitants, we will spread the loris love. KUKANG!
This blog post was written by Julia Hill, Field Station Coordinator and Conservation Education Manger with the Little Fireface Project (LFP). She is based at the LFP's field site in West Java, Indonesia.