Tickling is Torture: The curse of “cute” and the illegal pet trade

The internet is teeming with footage of cute and cuddly animals, but could these viral videos be fueling the illegal wildlife trade?

If you type “loris” into your browser, you will undoubtedly be met with hundreds of pictures and videos of the pudgy, wide-eyed primate reclined on a bed with its arms in the air being tickled.


 Tickling is Torture: The curse of cute and the illegal pet trade. Written by Natalie Kyriacou, My Green World.       


tickling is tortureThe loris is found in tropical and woodland forests throughout India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. All eight species of slow lorises are considered “threatened” and the Javan slow loris is one of the 25 most endangered primates worldwide, according to “Tickled to Death: Analysing Public Perceptions of ‘Cute’ Videos of Threatened Species”. This furry bundle is undeniably adorable, however, it is also one of the world’s only venomous mammals.


Viral online videos are failing to reveal the true plight of the loris.

In addition to habitat loss, the bushmeat industry, and being used in traditional Chinese medicine, the pet trade claims countless lorises each year. Traffickers rip these animals from their natural habitat and then isolate the animals in abysmal conditions, before removing their teeth with nail clippers. Thousands of slow lorises are poached from the wild to be illegally sold on the street or in animal markets. Often whole families of slow lorises living in the wild will be captured for the pet trade.
Anna Nekaris, Professor in anthropology and primate conservation and author of “Tickled to Death” said that what a loris experiences after capture “is so horrific it cannot be imagined,”
She explains on her website:“[Slow lorises are] shoved into plastic crates and bags; their teeth are clipped out with crude mechanisms with no anaesthesia, no aftercare, no medicine and most die; multiple animals are transported in crates where they wound each other with their venomous bites; market conditions are inhumane, boiling hot, and cruel, with no proper food fed to the animals.”

Tickling is Torture

If you come across a video or photo of a pet slow loris on the internet, please know that, while it may appear cute, the animal in the video is suffering and so is the entire species.
Not only does the slow loris pet trade cause unimaginable suffering, it is also the biggest threat to the survival of the species, which is in serious danger of extinction.


Watch the “Tickling is Torture” campaign video:


Make your pledge HERE.

“I pledge not to support and encourage the illegal pet trade in slow lorises. I will not ‘share’ or ‘like’ any video or photo that shows a slow loris being kept as a pet and, where possible, I will ‘comment’ directing people to the International Animal Rescue slow loris rescue information page to help expose the truth and end the suffering.”


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