Sunday, September 22, 2013

Rihanna does her bit to hustle lorises to extinction

Rihanna has been off in Phuket - presumably to put as much distance between her and that awful River Island range as possible - and managed to wade into a massive screw-up.

She had her picture taken with a loris, gleefully uploading it to Instagram.

It's not as cute as it sounds. The Bangkok Post explains:

Local wildlife advocates have alerted authorities to the picture of Rihanna with the slow loris, which is sometimes illegally used as a photo prop in tourist areas. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNWPC) has responded by urging residents to help identify where Rihanna was pictured holding the slow loris.

DNWPC deputy director-general Theerapat Prayurasiddhi yesterday said he would send officials to look into accusations of wildlife abuse if he receives specific information about where animals are being used as photo props.
There are some zoos which have been licenced to use lorises in this way, but even that is a terrible thing to promote - especially when endorsed by an international pop-star, as it all feeds into the horrific loris pet trade which is harming the creatures' chance of survival. Primates Not Pets explains just what a nasty trade Rihanna is helping:
After being snatched from the wild, slow lorises have to suffer a painful procedure to prepare them for their lives as pets. Their teeth are often cut off with nail clippers or pulled out with pliers to prevent the loris from injecting venom into its handlers and future owners. This cruel mutilation can leave the loris suffering from infections, and often results in a slow and painful death.

But their torture doesn’t end there, with the lorises exposed to stressful conditions until they reach their owners. If intended for the international trade, the loris can be transported in overcrowded conditions with poor ventilation. The stress placed on the animals during this transport stage results in a mortality rate of between 30% and 90%. If the lorises remain in their native countries like Indonesia, they are taken to illegal animal markets where they can be exposed to extreme heat.
But, hey, Rihanna. Cute Instagram shot.