On October 15th 2014, four Slow Lorises were turned into the Department of Natural Parks and Resources in Bangkok. Their future now remains in the hands of government wildlife facilitating centers, with limited hope of being reintroduced into the wild.
Slow Lorises are listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List, with at least 30% of the population being reduced in the past 20 years (IUCN, 2008). Slow Lorises are protected under CITES, meaning no commercial trade is allowed. However, the lucrative market for using wildlife as photo-prop animals is growing extensively, thus increasing risk of overexploitation and population decline (Starr et al. 2010). Tourists seek to capture a quick snapshot with ‘cute cuddly’ exotic wildlife; but many do not realise that these animals are often snatched from their mothers when premature in the wild, and in many cases, are drugged, declawed and their teeth forcibly removed with pliers or nail-cutters to make them “safe to handle” (Sanchez 2008).
As shy and nocturnal animals, Slow Lorises face extreme stress as they are paraded around day and night to be grabbed, hustled and used as photo-props. Sadly, once they lose their ‘cute factor’ and are unsuited for the job, they are often discarded, with some lucky enough to end up at rescue centers. The fate of most is a lifetime in captivity because without their teeth and the ability to independently fend for themselves, they can no longer be reintroduced into the wild (Sanchez 2008). By supporting and paying for pictures with exotic wildlife, you are directly funding the dark trade of animal trafficking.
Please help support tourism the right way; the picture may only last a couple of seconds for you, but for them, it is a whole life of misery.