A series of five stills depicting an evolutionary regression from modern humanity to our common ancestor.
Due to limitations in our scientific records, it is impossible to determine the exact ancestral lineage leading back to humanity’s original diversion from our primate ancestors. By analyzing and chronologizing ancestral remains, scientists are able to render a probable representation of humanity’s ancestry.
The purpose of this series was to establish a common identity between five members of this chronological lineage. Represented by the scar on the left cheek, the subjects of this series are united by their exposure to morbidity and mortality.
The Little Fireface Project (nocturama.org) is an organization that specializes in the conservation of Javan Slow Lorises. Based in Cipaganti, a region of West Java, the Little Fireface Project conducts research at the border of a massive rainforest: the lush Cloud Forests of the Western Javan wilderness. The Western Javan rainforests are located in a montane equatorial biome that serves as a abundant ecological resource to a highly diverse group of organisms.
Recently, unfortunately, one of these Western Javan organisms has become critically endangered due to human disturbance: Nycticebus javanicus, the Javan Slow Loris, is a close cousin of the pygmy slow loris, which has recently been subject to significant media attention:
The media attention drawn from this video ultimately led to a rise in demand for slow lorises as pets. The true extent of the impact of media attention on slow loris conservation, however, is still not fully understood.
The Javan Slow Loris is an example of a collateral species suffering in the wake of the Pygmy Slow Loris’s media attention. This strepsirrhine primate has suffered two consequences from the increase in the exotic pet trade: the direct consequence is that the charismatic Javan Slow Lorises have become coveted as a pet over more robust, less charismatic species.
An indirect consequence is that the Javan Slow Loris is being outcompeted by many invasive loris species that were introduced to the forest due to a lack of understanding of the speciation of the loris family. Due to this lack of understanding, conservation efforts have accidentally released several robust slow loris species into the same biome as the Javan Slow Loris.
Thus, the very same ineffectual features that allow Javan Slow Lorises to become uniquely good pets among the lorisoid family also allowed them to be outcompeted by other, more physically robust species.
As such, the Javan Slow Loris has become a species of paramount conservational concern. In order to assist the Javan Slow Loris in its recolonization of its previous niche within the Western Javan Biome, we must understand the factors that are currently negatively impacting the species.
One clear factor that has driven the Javan Slow Loris so close to extinction is competition from other invasive loris species. By researching the social structures and behavioral patterns of Javan Slow Lorises currently affected by the presence of invaders, and contrasting my results to the activity of slow lorises unaffected by invaders, I hope to provide insight from which conservation action can be taken in the favor of Javan Slow Loris recolonization. Ultimately, the movement to save the Javan Slow Loris will provide insight into the larger picture of Global Conservation.