4 min read

People Meet Tiny Animal Saved From Poachers — And Realize How Special He Is

He's the only known albino loris in the WORLD 😱

When rescuers first laid eyes on the animal, they struggled to believe what they were seeing. The tiny primate was clearly a slow loris, but instead of having dark brown, red or gray fur, his coat was white with tinges of gold. He was an albino.

The team members at International Animal Rescue (IAR) in Indonesia had never seen an albino slow loris before — and neither had anyone else.

Rare albino slow loris hiding among leaves

“This is the first known albino loris in the world and therefore extremely rare,” Karmele Llano Sanchez, program director for IAR Indonesia, said in a statement.

Unfortunately, the slow loris’ uniqueness had attracted wildlife traffickers, who stole him from the forest earlier this year and sold him into the pet trade. But in August, authorities managed to rescue the slow loris and sent him to a rehabilitation center in Bandar Lampung, a city on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Albino slow loris fitted with radio collar
The slow loris was fitted with a radio collar before being released. | IAR

It’s common for wildlife traffickers to remove slow loris’ teeth, which are the animal’s only natural defense, in a painful procedure to make them easier to handle as pets. Thankfully, this albino slow loris still had all his teeth intact, which meant he could survive in the wild.

Rescuers releasing slow loris back into the forest
The rescue team releasing the slow loris back into the forest | IAR

Once the slow loris had regained his strength, it was time for him to go back to the forest, which he hadn’t seen since he was taken into captivity.

Albino slow loris on tree in forest

"Although this albino slow loris is extremely rare, it is still entitled to live freely in its natural habitat like other wildlife,” Teguh Ismail, a conservationist who helped rescue the slow loris, said in a statement. “The reintroduction of slow lorises into the wild can also provide benefits and carry out ecological functions in their natural habitat by controlling insects and pollinating plants.”

Slow loris climbing through tree in forest

The albino slow loris was fitted with a radio collar so the team can keep a close eye on him and make sure that he remains safe. Even though he looks different than other slow lorises, everyone is optimistic about his survival.

Albino slow loris inside tree at night

“If it wasn’t for the incredible work of the authorities to combat illegal wildlife trade, this loris could easily have died in the hands of wildlife traffickers,” Sanchez said. “Thankfully, we are able to give this animal another chance to live and thrive in the wild where it belongs.”

To help rescue more animals like this slow loris, you can make a donation to IAR.