Editor’sNote (Lisa Grossman): The popular loris tickling youtube video is not posted here because it has markedly fueled the illegal trade of baby lorises who are ripped from their mothers in the wild. A spokesman for YouTube said: “All videos uploaded must comply with our Community Guidelines, which prohibit animal abuse. ”If we do find that videos do violate the guidelines, we remove them, usually in under an hour.” The company declined to comment on the loris clips.
Published just 4 weeks ago in the American Journal of Primatology, a new, venomous, primate has been discovered Borneo. And they are already in trouble from low life poachers. The large eyes, two tongues and ‘teddy bear’ face of the nocturnal Nycticebus kayan, discovered in Borneo, makes it attractive for illegal poaching.
“Unfortunately, in addition to habitat loss to deforestation, thousands of lorises are being lost each year to black market pet trade, traditional medicine, and superstitious rituals.” The world’s only venomous primates could be gone in the flash of an eye, as the illegal trades see ravaging of populations.
Researchers have discovered a new slow loris species in the jungles of Borneo, according to findings published this week in the American Journal of Primatology. Known for its toxic bite, the slow loris — a nocturnal primate found across Southeast Asia — is closely related to a lemur and is characterized by unique fur coloration on its face and body.An international team of scientists pinpointed the new species, found in Borneo’s central-east highland area, by studying the distinctive colorings of the faces of the animals.
Because they aren’t domesticated they are afforded some legal protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Even researchers note keeping the intelligent and social animals as pets is cruel and the animals often do very poorly in captivity. And the terrified animals often have their teeth cut down with nail clippers to prevent it from biting the trader. This brutal practice is common among wildlife dealers in Indonesia before selling lorises in markets or at the roadside, and many of them die from the trauma or from septicaemia within days of capture.
Poachers steal infant lorises from their parents in the wild to sell at open-air markets in Indonesia, where they are traded for as little as £10. The export market is most lucrative in Japan, where lorises stolen to order sell for £3,500. The trade is now expanding into the US and Europe, with illegally smuggled lorises reported in the United Kingdom.
Dr Anna Nekaris, reader in primate conservation at Oxford Brookes University, said there is also a “massive” trade in Poland and Russia. “I have visited markets in Thailand where they advise on how to smuggle them into Britain,” she adds.
Even zoos have difficulty meeting their nutritional needs for certain insects, tree gums and nectars and zoos rarely succeed in breeding them. Nearly all the primates in the pet trade are taken from the wild, breaking the bonds of the lorises’ complex and poorly understood social structures. The teeth they use for their venomous bite are then torn out. Many of them die in the squalid conditions of pet markets. Once in the home, pet keepers don’t provide the primates with the social, nutritional and habitat requirements they need to live comfortably. Pet keepers also want to play with the nocturnal animals during the day, disrupting their sleep patterns.”
“YouTube videos of lorises being tickled, holding umbrellas or eating with forks have become wildly popular,” said Anna Nekaris, study co-author, primatology professor at Oxford Brookes University and MU graduate. “CNN recently promoted loris videos as ‘feel good’ entertainment. In truth, the lorises gripping forks or umbrellas were simply desperate to hold something. The arboreal animals are adapted to spending their lives in trees constantly clutching branches. Pet keepers rarely provide enough climbing structures for them.”
The only Loris rescue center in Thailand is run by Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand. At their center they receive over a hundred lorises a year from all over the country and most are released back to the wild within days, having small to medium injuries from electric shock or wild traps.
“The pet trade isn’t the only threat to loris survival. The animals also are used in Asian traditional medicines. The methods used to extract the medicines can be exceedingly violent, according to Nekaris, who also is director of the slow loris advocacy organization, Little Fireface Project.
For example, in order to obtain tears of the big-eyed lorises, skewers are inserted into the animals’ anuses and run through their bodies until they exit the mouth. The still-living animals are then roasted over a smoky fire and the tears that stream from their eyes are collected and used to supposedly treat eye diseases in humans.”
Source: Lisa Grossman
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