Posted on 13/01/2012
Combining big beautiful eyes with sharp little fangs, slow lorises are nature’s real-life ‘Gremlins’: part cuddly, part miniature monster. But being nocturnal and highly secretive, very little is actually known about them.
According to Dr Anna Nekaris – an Oxford-based zoologist who’s studied lorises for nearly twenty years – they possess a poison that causes wounds to fester. In some cases, their bites have triggered anaphylactic shock and even death in humans.
This film follows Anna as she travels to Indonesia to try and discover the true purpose of the animal’s mysterious toxin. Her remarkable tests reveal that loris poison can kill parasites within minutes, and even halt a huge bear in its tracks. Used against each other, their venom leads to horrific scars, and, even “slow, flesh-rotting death.” It’s hardly cute and cuddly.
Yet as Anna investigates, a far darker story begins to unfold. Despite laws to protect lorises, many are still being sold as pets – openly, and in conditions of unspeakable cruelty. To make them “safe” the traders first cut out their teeth, leaving the animals vulnerable to infection. And with so many being taken from the wild, these strange and stunningly beautiful creatures are now in danger of vanishing altogether.