You may be one of the millions of people who've enjoyed videos of slow lorises behaving adorably while being tickled or clutching tiny cocktail umbrellas. However, according to animal rights activists, these endangered lorises have been illegally trafficked, brutally mutilated, and are doomed to die from infection, covered in their own feces and urine.
"The only reason the loris isn't biting the person holding it in the video is because it has had its teeth ripped out with pliers," said Chris Shepherd of Traffic Southeast Asia, which campaigns against the trade in primates.
The teeth are removed because the loris, listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, can deliver a toxic bite. Mr Shepherd said: "The creature is then effectively doomed because of infection. Most don't last very long after that..."
Dr Nekaris said the loris in the umbrella video had suffered a head wound, most likely caused by being transported in a cage. Although the creature may look happy, it submits to being tickled as a passive defence-mechanism to deal with stress.
The loris is a nocturnal animal and is effectively being blinded by the daylight in the videos. Disoriented, it grasps at the umbrella believing it is the bamboo of its natural terrain.
YouTube sensation fuelling trade in an endangered species
(via The Awl)
(Image: Slender Loris skeleton, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from ellenm1's photostream)
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