Saturday, 17 March 2012

Cute Slow Loris loves being tickled? Success for BBC Natural World (Pls RT & help raise awareness)

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The rise and fall of the Slow Loris - from obscure fur-ball to internet sensation and TV star. How the BBC Natural World, and a passionate scientist are making a difference to the future of this enchanting little primate.

Just a few years ago the slow loris was an obscure little creature that only primatologists really knew about. It became an instant celebrity when more than 12 million people watched a YouTube video of a loris being tickled in a Russian flat. Sadly this sudden popularity has fuelled a boom in the international pet trade which has pushed the slow loris closer to extinction. They are being sold internationally on the internet, in pet shops, and are particularly fashionable in Japan. According to the Japan Wildlife Conservation Society, women are fond of them because "they're easy to keep, they don't cry, they're small, and just very cute".

Please help raise awareness of the illegal trade in Slow Lorises by posting helpful comments on YouTube videos like the one below.

Jungle Gremlins of Java

In January the BBC film ‘Jungle Gremlins of Java’ was shown on BBC2. It followed primatologist Dr. Anna Nekaris, who leads the Little Fireface project, as she travelled to Java to uncover the plight of the slow loris. Here she had noted that an increasing number of slow lorises were being offered for sale at markets, while they were becoming a rarer sight in their native forest homes.

Dr Anna Nekaris and a captive Loris

Some of these lorises are bought for use in traditional medicines, as they are believed to have magical properties. In North Sumatra, the slow loris is thought to bring good luck if it is buried under a house. In Cambodia, loris bones are used by hunters to heal their own broken limbs, and women drink a concoction of loris blood and rice wine to alleviate childbirth. In Java it is believed that putting a fragment of loris skull in drinking water will make a husband more submissive, and that eating loris meat will improve his virility.

Most of the lorises being sold in markets however are headed out of the country, and into the international pet trade.

Dr Nekaris told BBC News: "Most of the animals that get into people's homes as pets are wild animals. They aren't captive bred and it's a real dark pathway through which they have to go to get there. In order to get into someone's house, the animals have to go through a lot of cruelty and suffering in order to be pets and that's really decimating the population."

Despite their big-eyed baby Ewok appearance, the slow loris is one of only a few poisonous mammals. They produce a secretion on their brachial gland (a gland on their arm), which, when mixed with their saliva, creates a volatile, noxious toxin that is stored in the mouth - if threatened the loris is cable of biting, and injecting this poison into the wound. It's enough to deter clouded leopards and sun bears, and it has been known to cause death in humans through anaphylactic shock. 

Dr Nekaris told BBC News "The real threat to the slow loris is that in order to avoid being bitten [illegal pet traders] pull out the loris's teeth with pliers or nail clippers. So the animals, once they're in the trade, they can't be reintroduced to the wild because they have no teeth. Those that are rescued from the pet trade without teeth would not be able to feed properly or fend for themselves."

Success for Little Fireface & BBC Natural World

Since 'The Gremlins of Java' was shown there’s been a huge internet outcry – many of the viral YouTube clips have been removed, a series of international pet dealers have been busted in Thailand and two campaigns have been set up in Asia to save the species.

Please help The Little Fireface Project to continue their work


  1. We should all help the loris. Thank god for people like Anna.

  2. loris look cute! human should help them!