ESR 12:17-23 (2010)  -  doi:10.3354/esr00285

Traditional use of slow lorises Nycticebus bengalensis and N. pygmaeus in Cambodia: an impediment to their conservation

Carly Starr1,*, K. A. I. Nekaris2, Ulrike Streicher3, Luke Leung1

1School of Animal Studies, University of Queensland, Gatton Campus, Queensland 4343, Australia
2Oxford Brookes University, Nocturnal Primate Research Group, School of Social Sciences and Law, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
3Wildlife Rescue Programme, Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project, Nakai, Laos

ABSTRACT: In Cambodia, periodic reports since the 1990s have identified the sale of large numbers of dried pygmy Nycticebus pygmaeus and northern slow lorises N. bengalensis in traditional medicine stores. We used interviews and questionnaires to identify the uses and users of lorises, elucidate factors affecting selection of loris medicines, and determine whether access to alternative therapies may reduce the use of loris medicines. Pygmy lorises were found to be the most commonly requested animal from traditional medicine stores in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, and the primary users recalled by sellers were women between the ages of 25 and 45 from middle to upper class backgrounds. Slow lorises were predominantly used in a tonic for women after childbirth, stomach problems, healing wounds and broken bones, and in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Lorises were reported to be sourced from provinces with large protected areas within their distribution ranges. Market values of both species more than doubled from 1997 to 2007; however, the majority of respondents expressed reluctance to substitute loris medicines with alternatives, indicating that promotion of alternatives would be an inappropriate conservation tool. Education and enhanced law enforcement are vital to conserve slow lorises in Cambodia.


KEY WORDS: Slow loris · Wildlife trade · Interview · Cambodia · Conservation


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Cite this article as: Starr C, Nekaris KAI, Streicher U, Leung L (2010) Traditional use of slow lorises Nycticebus bengalensis and N. pygmaeus in Cambodia: an impediment to their conservation. Endang Species Res 12:17-23

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