Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Protecting the world's only poisonous primate

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

BBC documentary ‘Jungle Gremlins of Java’ focuses on Dr Anna Nekaris’ expertise on the slow loris

The slow loris might look like a harmless, big-eyed baby Ewok from a scene in Star Wars, but the animal is actually the only venomous primate in the world.

In a captivating and emotional hour-long BBC2 documentary airing next week (8pm, Wednesday 25 January), Oxford Brookes’ Dr Anna Nekaris explains why this fascinating species faces a threat to its very existence due to the illegal pet-trade.

When YouTube footage of a slow loris being tickled in a Russian flat appeared online, the creature became an instant celebrity with over 12 million views. Overnight fame for the slow loris has however created significant problems as more and more people want to keep the species as a pet.

Speaking ahead of the transmission of her documentary, which will kick-start the new BBC Natural World series, Dr Anna Nekaris said: “It is illegal to trade slow lorises as pets, and those that are, often have their teeth cruelly ripped out by traders, using either nail clippers, wire cutters or pliers. Although many scientists are trying to educate people about the cruelty of keeping the creature as a pet, it remains an uphill battle.

'Very real threat'

“There is still so much we can learn about this vulnerable creature that will help with our understanding and aid primate conservation in this area. I hope that people watch the BBC2 programme and gain a better knowledge of this amazing animal and the very real threat it is now facing. “If you are interested in the slow loris, I urge you to help us to increase our understanding of this fascinating but under-threat creature. This is part of our wider work on primate conservation and more information is available from Oxford Brookes’ website.” Further information, video clips, images and fundraising pages where you can donate to help with the conservation of the slow loris can be found on the Oxford Brookes website at www.brookes.ac.uk/microsites/the-slow-loris/