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#90 Javan Slow Loris

Critically Endangered

Until the 2000's these were thought to be a sub-species rather than a separate species as they now know they are. They are endemic to Indonesia. The slow loris are the only venomous primates. Their population has decreased about 80% over the past 20-25 years. They are hunted for use in traditional medicine, they have to contend with severe deforestation, but most disturbing is their poaching for exotic pet trade. Those selling them will tell unsuspecting people that they bred them in captivity. They are lying, even captive breeding programs aiming to keep the species from going extinct have trouble getting them to be successful. Also, invariably the ones in markets have had their teeth ripped out because their venomous bite can be fatal to humans. There is no anesthesia involved, and they regularly get infections and die. Also, because of having their teeth removed (their defense), when confiscated they cannot be reintroduced into the wild.

I struggled with this painting. I wanted it to have teeth showing, because they are so important to the slow loris. That pretty much meant making them either appear to be smiling, or scared. I wasn't sure I should make them look as cute as they are, I do not want to have anyone say "oh I want one!" after seeing my painting. I didn't want to make it look scared or angry though, I wanted it to seem happy. So, while I think they are insanely adorable and I did try to make my painting look happy, I hope the thought of one as a pet ends up with people feeling sad or angry. I would love for the illegal trade in slow loris to completely die out.

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