23/10/2016 10:11 BST | Updated 24/10/2017 06:12 BST

Group Of 'Stressed' Slow Lorises In Indonesia Saved From Sale Via Facebook

Dozens of critically-endangered slow lorises have been saved in Indonesia from being sold on Facebook by wildlife traffickers, a British animal charity said.

Some of the 34 "extremely stressed" Javan primates had bite wounds suspected to have been caused by being crammed together in small crates.

Six had been shot with air rifles, some had their teeth clipped and several were pregnant, with one already giving birth since being seized in the West Java province capital of Bandung.

Five people - three suspected hunters and two dealers - were arrested in the operation carried out by the special criminal investigation directorate of West Java regional police.

Officials at East Sussex-based International Animal Rescue (IAR) said the nocturnal primates are being sold via Facebook and other social media by animal traffickers seeking big profits.

Investigators said hunters who capture the animals in the wild sell them for just £3 to dealers who then trade them on for between £12.50 and £31.

Keeping slow lorises as pets is banned under Indonesian law, but many are sold openly every day in markets. The Javan slow loris is among the International Union for Conservation of Nature's 25 most endangered primates in the world.

Numbers in the wild have been decimated by the illegal trade in wildlife as pets. The seized slow lorises are now undergoing intensive care treatment at IAR's primate rehabilitation centre in Java.

Karmele Llano Sanchez, the programme director of IAR Indonesia, said: "Stopping these syndicates is crucial for the survival of so many endangered species, including the slow loris."

Wendi Prameswari, the animal care manager at IAR's centre in Bogor, Java, said the slow lorises will go through a quarantine process and receive close medical attention.

She said: "They need very intensive treatment and care during the first few days in particular and often some of them succumb to the high stress levels, infections, and injuries received during capture, packing, transportation and selling."