Tickling Slow Loris: The Truth

http---wwwprofaunaorg-download-publOver two years on from my run and I am very proud to say I’m still receiving visitors. Hi there!

Most hits appear to be from Google which suggests you’d like to learn about lorises. Please have a browse below for information on pet lorises, otherwise the best things you can do are to watch this video and visit this page.

Helping out their prosimian cousins in Madagascar would also be great. I did say I’d do another one for lemurs.

Dear Diary – Part 3

Title 2

Not Forrest, but Youtube ‘celebrity’ Sonya. Behind her eyes lies a similar story.

Pain. Sadness. Loneliness. Torture. This is the existence of a pet slow loris. After being ripped from my mother and my teeth removed with pliers, I was then stuffed in a man’s pockets and smuggled aboard an airplane to be taken far away from Asia.

The loris in the man’s other pocket died. No doubt he just phoned for another to be taken from the rainforest, thus the whole vicious cycle is repeated again. I haven’t seen a tree, let alone the forest in weeks now. I’m so, so homesick. Looking around, all I see are metal bars and a water bottle made for hamsters.

That I’m forced to live in a three-by-two-by-two foot cage is bad enough when adult lorises can comfortably travel five plus miles in a night. Often we’re then fed human food through the bars, forcing down horrible, unnatural things such as rice through our now mangled teeth. This makes us seriously ill. With our digestive systems made for gums and insects that even zoos struggle to provide, my life expectancy is now between one and two years. Back in the forest it’d be twenty plus.

Other factors also add to this. The temperature and climate also make us unwell, we’re not adaptable beings at all. That’s why we’re found in so few places. Put ‘cute’ clothes or props on us and the situation’s even worse. Often this is around the time we’re taken out of our cages and a camera shoved in our face, poked and leered at as though circus performers. Most of those who watch the resulting videos do not understand.

Millions of people have seen these clips on Youtube. Very few stop to think that we’re nocturnal and so the bright lights and flashing of lenses scares us and damages our eyes, whilst even less people realise that us holding our arms in the air to be ‘tickled’ is in fact a defensive mechanism; it’s from here that we secrete part of our poison.

Despite our name, slow lorises really aren’t that slow. These situations and the lights force us into a shocked state though, making our movements lethargic and laboured. And you think that we look happy? Try spending the other twenty-three hours and fifty-eight minutes of your day stuffed inside a small metallic prison.

‘Liking’ these videos on Youtube then makes the owner money. This in effect is offering financial incentive to own a loris. I shouldn’t have even heard of the word ‘money’. In turn, organised crime is funded by the illegal smuggling of lorises. Behind drugs and arms, wildlife is the world’s third most profitable illicit trade.

In a way I wish I’d died back in the market or on the plane. I’m not sure my body can handle much more. I’ll probably be dead soon. I just hope that not many others have to go through this. We should be left alone in the jungle, as all wildlife should. Not paraded in front of cameras with umbrellas, whilst back in Asia for each one who dies in a market or airport another few are taken from the forest. I could go on but one little loris can’t make a difference. Hopefully you can.

In only ten days I am partaking in the Run to the Beat half-marathon in aid of the Little Fireface Project and slow lorises. Please help me to help them.

A Long and Winding Road

Meet Forrest

Meet Forrest. The only type of loris you should even think about owning.

It began in early April. Drunkenly ranting about animals as usual, a friend asked if I’d fancy a half-marathon.  I’d like to say that it was a handshake right there that tied me in like my tattoo and South America, but I instead gave it some headache infused thought the next day. The answer was a ‘yes.’

Having that week seen Jungle Gremlins of Java, my inebriated babble wasn’t of red pandas or lemurs for a change, but slow lorises. I was aware already aware of them and even tried finding wild ones myself in Southeast Asia last year, but I hadn’t known how big a fight they face. I’m not ashamed to say I shed some tears when watching the market scenes.

Slow lorises do face a unique threat. Like many other species they are hunted for traditional medicines and their habitats are being torn apart, but few other creatures also face the wrath of the internet. At a glance, over twenty million people have viewed Youtube’s videos of them being kept as household pets.

I can’t add much on the subject which hasn’t been mentioned elsewhere. What I can do though, is help in raising awareness whilst all donations will go directly to Dr Anna Nekaris of the Little Fireface Project, and on to Indonesia. Still having five months to go, with a little assistance I can hopefully achieve a lot.

My initial training efforts consisted of Marlboro tasting cardiovascular warmups, followed by twenty minute whinges around the streets of Dartford, then a consolatory cigarette on return. I needed help. Progress has been slow, but smoking is hopefully now a thing of the past and nine minutes per mile is no problem. I’ve even found out that a gait analysis has nothing to do with fences, doors or farms.

Although I cautiously signed up for the two hour plus bracket, I’ll be aiming to go under the hundred and twenty minute mark. Either way, it’s a good thing that Amazon and eBay don’t stock slow loris costumes. Should you know of any and their whereabouts, then please leave me in blissful ignorance as I probably would get drunk and order one.

Instead, I will proudly be donning a Little Fireface Project T-shirt whilst the thought of our furry little friends will help me kick on from my current maximum of four miles. Trebling that and then some is going to be a long and difficult road, but I’ll be content in the knowledge that I’ll be helping to save the slow loris one stride at a time.

Cry of the Slow Loris

Confiscated Pygmy Lorises in Thailand

Cute. Cuddly. Fluffy. Adorable. Wild. These are all words which describe Southeast Asia’s most peculiar primate, the slow loris. Compared to their distant relatives but neighbours such as orang-utans and macaques, lorises have clambered under the public radar. That is until recently. With the advent of the internet and Youtube, these particular prosimians are now known to millions worldwide.

Lorises are difficult enough keep in zoos. Relatively little is known about the species, whilst they fall into the somewhat unique category of venomous mammals. Secreting oil from their arms, this is mixed with saliva to create a potentially deadly cocktail when biting. Therefore when illegally captured from the wild, the first port of call is to remove their teeth. This is performed mercilessly with appliances such as wire cutters or pliers, often leaving the wound to become infected and resulting in a slow, painful death.

Meanwhile in the cyber world, videos of lorises as pets are becoming ever increasingly popular. Shown being tickled, holding umbrellas or taken on car rides, the scenes appear innocent. In turn, comments are left about how great a pet they must be, plus the inevitable inquiries as to where they can be purchased. Behind that though, is a world of suffering. For each one sent from a wildlife market and then across Asia, America or Europe, they are replaced. More are plucked from the jungle, more mothers are separated from their young, and more die for nothing.

With their habitat also being destroyed and the continued poaching of them for bush meat and supposed medicinal purposes, one of the planet’s most loveable animals is facing the very real threat of extinction. Despite a worldwide ban on the trade of the slow loris, we need to act and to educate, before its fate is sealed. Can you help?