A “possibly unique” albino slow loris is said to be thriving back in its natural habitat after being rescued from the exotic pet trade.
The Sumatran slow loris, nicknamed Alby, was rescued in August by authorities in Indonesia from a man who was aiming to sell the animal as a pet on Facebook.
Alby was treated at the Animal Rescue Centre in Bandar Lampung, before being fitted with a radio collar and released into the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in October.
Having monitored his movements over a period of months by experts from International Animal Rescue (IAR), the collar was removed in February.
“Our monitoring team’s observations show that Alby has demonstrated his ability to survive in his natural habitat and display completely wild behaviour,” said IAR programme manager Robithotul Huda.
“After his release he was very active and agile.
“We are confident that he needs no further monitoring and is ready to be free of any further human supervision or intervention.”
IAR said Alby was thriving in his new rainforest habitat, displaying normal behaviour for the species and socialising with other wild slow lorises.
Because relatively little research has been done into slow loris populations, it is not known exactly how rare the albino is, but it would likely have made him a stand-out target for the illegal pet trade.
“As an albino slow loris, Alby is extremely rare and possibly unique but he still deserves the chance to live freely in its natural habitat,” said Huda.
IAR has helped to return 32 slow lorises to their natural habitat from the pet trade since 2017.
After a video of a slow loris being ticked went viral, IAR launched the Tickling Is Torture campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the cruelty of keeping the primates as pets.