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Quick guide to slow loris smuggling
Is it legal to own a pet loris or to own a loris in Russia?
Many countries outlaw the keeping or primates as pets (most countries in the EU). Some countries (e.g. the USA, Russia, UK) allow keeping of primates with a license. But the primate but be bred and obtained legally. This means it and its parents must be legally imported through proper CITES procedures. The importing and exporting countries must have all permits to prove that removing the wild primate from the population will not be detrimental to the species. So even if the parents were imported illegally and have offspring, the offspring are still ILLEGAL.
In the case of Russia, if we examine the publicly available CITES database considering pygmy loris only (the species seen in Tickling and Umbrella videos), we can find that in 1985, 2 were imported into the Soviet Union for ‘scientific purposes’, 2 in 1989 for a zoo, in 1991 3 more for a zoo. In 1998 and 1999, 6 and 11 pygmy slow lorises were illegally imported into Russia from Vietnam, and reported as such by the authorities. Normally such individuals are handed over to zoos. We are aware of many other cases of illegal imports that were not reported to the authorities (e.g. reported via internet etc). As such, no loris was EVER legally imported into Russia for pets, and no animal has ever left the zoo collections to go into a pet nursery. Even if it is legal to have a pet loris in Russia, under CITES, if the parents were not legally imported, the offspring are thus ILLEGAL.
Is it true that I can buy captive bred lorises from a loris nursery or a pet shop?
Very unlikely. Here is why. Zoos work very hard to keep genetically viable captive populations of animals. As wild populations dwindle, some species may exist only in zoos. Zoos are experts in captive breeding, and ‘studbooks’ are set up for every species, and a database called ISIS is available showing births and deaths of every animal in every zoo participating in genetically viable captive breeding programmes.
For lorises, the case is a bit bleak.In all registered zoos world-wide, only about 100 pygmy slow lorises occur, and births are rare. For the slow loris, with its 4 currently recognised species and soon to be 7, less than 75 animals are scattered throughout the world’s zoos with virtually none breeding. Thus if these caring experts have such a hard time breeding these rare animals and keeping them alive, it is highly doubtful that there are profit-making loris nurseries in Japan, Poland and Russia supplying and making a profit from breeding lorises. This is not to say there are NONE but it would be far more profitable, far easier and far more likely with the rarity of captive births to take lorises from the wild.
Lorises can have their venom glands removed and be good pets.
No! Lorises do not have venom glands. Their venom is produced when they combine oil from a brachial gland in their arm with saliva from their mouth. It would be terribly cruel to remove their salivary glands as they need them to eat and chew. They also use their brachial glands to communicate with other lorises and even to reproduce, by producing odours and countermarking other lorises. Lorises have many other glands as well that make them very unpleasant smelling, as well as urine mark constantly. So trying to ‘remove’ bits from a loris to make it a good pet is a losing battle. It is simply a wild animal.
Removing the teeth from a loris is also cruel on many counts. Black market removal, cutting teeth with nail clippers, wire cutters or pliers, almost always leads to infection and death. The front teeth are essential for gouging gum, a main part of loris diet. The tooth comb is also used to keep the fur clean – not only the loris itself, but for social grooming. The loris still has strong jaws and can still bite through skin even without teeth, and can still inject its venom into a human’s open wound. We reiterate. They don’t make good pets.