STRANGE ENDANGERED PRIMATES

The illegal pet trade’s demand for cute-looking primates is devastating Indonesia’s population of slow lorises. But they are not the only endangered primates you may never have heard of that are already under threat of extinction.

“Lorises look like cute babies – they are shaped like a baby, have big round eyes, little hands – almost human-like hands,” says Anna Nekaris, a loris specialist based at the UK’s Oxford Brookes University.

But their “cuteness” is costing these venomous primates dearly. Demand for slow lorises as pets has skyrocketed as Youtube clips of lorises have surfaced.

Slow lorises’ are found across Southeast Asia. Nocturnal and carnivorous, they have extra vertebrae and hands missing a “finger”, in order to help them catch their prey and move around unnoticed.

They secrete venom from their elbows, which they mix with saliva when they bite. But this means they are “treated very cruelly to make them into pets, by having their lower incisors and canines removed,” says Professor Colin Groves, of the Australian National University.

“The dealer usually takes a pair of pliers and snaps them off. This is presumably very painful, and means that they can’t feed themselves, so usually they die shortly after being purchased as pets,” Prof Groves says.

CONTINUE READING at …..http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/16599909  for more information about strange endangered primates you may  have never heard of.

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