The video: The slow loris — a tiny, nocturnal primate with huge eyes — has become a YouTube sensation, with videos of the cuddly little animal being tickled or holding a cocktail umbrella garnering millions of views. (See a video below.) But, according to a new report in The Independent, what happens behind the scenes is anything but cute. The loris is an endangered species, and its YouTube popularity is increasing the demand for the animals as pets. Baby lorises are poached from their natural habitat, the forests of southeast Asia, and shipped to Japan, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Many don't survive the journey. "The only reason the loris isn't biting the person holding it in the video is because it has had its teeth ripped out with pliers," says Chris Shepherd with Traffic Southeast Asia. YouTube has declined to comment specifically on the loris clips, saying "all videos uploaded must comply with our Community Guidelines, which prohibit animal abuse." Should we find a different adorable animal to gawk at?
The reaction: This is "yet another adorable YouTube sensation actually predicated on cruelty," says Alex Balk at The Awl. Yeah, "it's all very sad and will make you feel guilty for ever watching a slow loris video again," says Amanda Dobbins at New York. Okay then, it's straight "back to cat videos now," says Josh Sanburn at TIME. Watch a loris video and feel guilty, below:
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