Two men, aged 20 and 16, were arrested on Saturday by Thailand police after recording artist sensation, Rihanna, posted a photo of herself holding a slow loris. The two men produced the slow loris to the authorities, which they said was used "as a photo opportunity for tourists." Source.
Thailand authorities are starting to crack down on illegal animal trade, one of which is the slow loris, an extremely cute nocturnal mammal that is part of the strepsirrhine primate family. The slow-moving, furry creature has a round head that holds huge eyes, a narrow nose and button ears, and their digits are almost human-like. YouTube video uploads - including one being tickled and another holding a cocktail umbrella - have triggered an sharp increase in its popularity.
Sadly, their popularity has led to infant lorises being taken from their parents in the wild and sold, according to Time NewsFeed. Lucrative markets for slow lorises include Japan, U.S. and Europe. But the abuse doesn't end there. Assuming the stolen slow lorises will even survive the journey to their destination - many of which do not - their teeth are then ripped out of their mouths with pliers because they have a toxic bite. Source This often leads to fatal infections.
The slow loris species are listed as "vulnerable" or "endangered" on the IUCN Red List. Habitat loss is not the only threat to their survival. Poaching to satisfy the "demand among children to turn their wild animal into must-have living toys," is another threat, according to Adam Sherwin of The Independent.
To combat the dramatic increase in demand for the slow loris, Dr. Anna Nekaris asked YouTube to remove the video clips of the cute slow lorises, arguing that they promote the illegal trade of slow lorises. A YouTube spokesman said, "All videos uploaded must comply with our Community Guidelines, which prohibit animal abuse," and added, "If we do find that videos do violate the guidelines, we remove them, usually in under an hour." Source
To date, YouTube has not removed the videos of slow lorises, which conservationists say merely fuels the worldwide demand for these endangered wild creatures.
(WARNING: The video is difficult to watch.)
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