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The Cruel Truth Behind The Slow Loris Pet Trade

Primates

The Cruel Truth Behind The Slow Loris Pet Trade

Chinese medicine in a cagePhoto by Michael_Whitehead

The slow loris population in Indonesia is in great danger of being extinct and the greatest threat to its survival is the illegal trade. Its soft fur and huge brown eyes make this small nocturnal primate highly prized as a pet and the victim of an online craze created by videos on numerous sites. Thousands of slow lorises are poached from the wild and illegally sold on the street or in animal markets.

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Often whole families of slow lorises living in the wild are being captured for the pet trade. Before a slow loris is sold as a pet, its teeth are cut out using nail clippers and wire cutters or pliers with no anesthetic. This is to make them easy to handle and to protect humans from their potentially deadly venomous bite. This is very painful process that often results in infections or even a death.

Lorises are transported in poorly ventilated and overcrowded containers, hidden away in dark. The stress of animals is very high during transport, which in the end results in the mortality rate of between 35% and 95%. Often captured animals are found in crates alongside the bodies of other dead lorises. Unspeakable cruelty is involved in the trade of slow lorises and the public must know about the real truth. Keeping these primates in a cage and clipping their teeth, is incredibly cruel.

These animals travel long distances at night in their hunt for food, which are crickets and other live insects, as well as birds’ eggs, and the sap of certain trees and fruit. The online videos show pet lorises eating rice balls and other unsuitable food, so it is no surprise that most of them are suffering from serious health problems and malnourished.

Slow lorises are nocturnal animals, so being kept in bright light is incredibly uncomfortable and causes suffering and pain. Because they travel long distances at night in their search for food, slow lorises cannot express natural behaviors in captivity, so putting this animals in a small cage is incredibly cruel. 

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People may claim that their pet slow loris was born in a pet shop, but this is highly unlikely, even if the owner does not realize it. It is very difficult to breed lorises in captivity. To run a successful loris breeding program you would need an immense knowledge of loris ecology and also suitable facilities for breeding, but a pet shop environment can’t make such conditions. 

Moreover, lorises have only one offspring at a time (with the exception of pygmy lorises that may have twins) and have a long inter-birth interval of around 15-17 months. So it is very unlikely that lorises are being successfully bred in pet shop environments. But if someone’s pet loris was even born in a pet shop, that does not make it okay.

Pygmy Slow LorisPhoto by John Greg Jr

People who buy these animals support the trade which causes their species to become extinct. Any loris kept as a pet will be suffering, regardless of where it was born.

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