Academic warns videos of cute animals promote illegal trade

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


A team from Oxford Brookes University are warning that online videos of cute animals promote illegal trade in them as pets.

A team from Oxford Brookes University is repeating warnings that online videos of cute animals promote illegal trade in them as pets.

Students Angelina Wilson and Amy Doughty together with lecturer Dr Anna Nekaris have been studying the slow loris trade – and are concerned that online videos of the cute creatures are creating a demand for them.

Videos showing slow lorises imply it is OK to keep the endangered animals at home.

The small animals are increasingly popular as pets in Japan and Russia, although international trade in them is illegal.

Poachers often remove their teeth without anaesthetic before selling them on. This often means they are unable to eat the correct diet which causes malnutrition, infection and even death.

Online videos also show the nocturnal animals walking around and being handled in daylight. The charity International Animal Rescue is now calling on YouTube to take down the videos.

Slow lorises are easily caught and handled and are easy to gather for the black market, as Dr Nekaris told environment news site Mongabay.

Slow loris parents: “park their infants alone throughout the night,” said Dr Nekaris. “The infants are particularly defenceless and easy to catch; lorises are described as non-target species meaning a hunter going into the forest will just grab a loris if he sees it, even if he is not looking for it."