A RARE VIP – Very Important Primate- was flown 5,000 miles to his new Dorset home after being confiscated in a drug raid.
The Bengal Slow Loris, who is no bigger than a bag of sugar, had been living in the Maldives Island capital Male, after he was found in a drugs bust.
Officers housed the monkey for eight months while they scoured the globe looking for a suitable new home.
They called the Loris, which is believed to be male, Kalo, which means ‘buddy’.
After hearing of Kalo’s plight, Dr Alison Cronin, who runs the Ape Rescue Centre at Monkey World in Dorset, put all her years of experience of rescuing animals into practice, embarking upon a complex mission to re-house the primate.
She agreed to organise the paperwork, arrange the transport, and quarantine Kalo, who is one of only a few thousand Bengal Slow Loris’s in existence.
British Airways came to Kalo’s assistance and flew him and Dr Cronin more than 5,000 miles back to UK.
Dr Cronin described the mission as vital conservation work, she said: “It would have been a huge loss if a healthy, vulnerable animal had to be destroyed, but it was also really important for us to support the Maldivian authorities, and to send a message to other countries around the world that vulnerable creatures don’t need to be put down – organisations like ours will provide support and assistance to ensure that endangered species aren’t allowed to die off.
“I asked British Airways for its help in flying the VIP - very important primate- to the UK, and the airline responded immediately, because it has a history of supporting conservation projects.”
Watch a video of Kalo exploring his new home at Monkey World below:
Kalo was transported in a special container to make sure he was safe and secure for the journey.
Captain Will Rennie and his team flew the small primate from Male to Gatwick Airport. He said: “Travelling at more than 500mph with us, our special little guest was, for once, not such a Slow Loris.
“The news that we had a VIP on board certainly created a buzz among customers in the cabin. We were very happy to offer a free ride – we knew this would be a different experience for our furry friend, so we made the journey as comfortable and cosy as possible.”
Kalo is settling into his new home well.
Dr Cronin said: “He has muscle wastage from living in a small bird cage since he was stolen from the wild and his coat is dirty and sparse. His condition should improve dramatically in the coming weeks as he is climbing around his new home and eating loads of crickets and locusts.”
Kalo will now spend the next four months in quarantine at Monkey World. He is then expected to begin a new life at the Shaldon Wildlife Trust in Devon, with a new friend, a Slow Loris called Doris, who has been without a companion since she arrived in the UK fifteen years ago.
Here is a video of Kalo in his cage he was confiscated in.