Tag Archives: slow loris for sale

“I WANT ONE!!” and the exotic ‘pet’ paradigm.

Glaucus Atlanticus

Glaucus Atlanticus

So I just searched ‘Glaucus Atlanticus’ (the little blue sea slug of recent social media fame) to find a creditable image for an article I’m writing and the first three google suggested searches are:

glaucus

Glaucus Atlanticus for sale
Glaucus Atlanticus sea slug and
Glaucus Atlanticus pet.

Why is it that whenever people see an awesome creature, they want to own one? One of their very own?
I see it on the Undiscovered Creature Project page all the time. “Awhhhh!! I want one!!!”

The Glaucus Atlanticus only eats particular cells shed from the poisonous man of war jellyfish. Any attempt to keep one in a tank is widely considered on professional fish keeping forums to spell certain death for the creature involved. Captive breeding of this species is entirely unheard of.

To summarise: An exact translation of the suggested search ‘glaucus atlanticus pet?’ is ‘certain death of a wild animal’.

Will this stop industrious individuals in it’s native Mozambique and South Africa supplying tiny blue sea slugs to people exclaiming “I WANT ONE!!” from behind a fist full of dollars?

If people see demand for exotic ‘pets’, they will supply them, regardless of whether keeping that animal is a good idea or not.. regardless of weather that animal is endangered or not. All they’re interested in is your CASH. It happens all over the world. People look into their back yards, see a wild iguana, clown fish, slow loris.. pangolin (the list goes on  and on), take them from the wild, stuff them in a box and take them to someone who will rip their teeth out, smuggle them out of the country in an unventilated lorry full of rugs and sell them on to someone who will sell them on to someone with cash to spend on a ‘super cute new best friend’.

Regardless of whether these animals are loved and cared for or not, captive wild animals are never going to be anyones best friend. At best they will be miserable, separated from their instincts and alone in a strange and confusing environment, and that’s the ones that get ‘looked after’. Too many exotic pets are flavour of the month, affording interest for a while and then left to live out their days in tanks and cages, in stress, isolation, misery and filth.

The trade in exotic ‘pets’ is CRIPPLING animal populations worldwide. Selfish interest is all that drives this. Nothing more. This attitude needs to change.

NEMO-finding-nemo-53764_1280_1024After the Disney Pixar movie Finding Nemo came out in 2003 the demand for Clownfish within the pet trade rose so dramatically that in some areas, previously thriving Clownfish populations became almost entirely extinct. Such tragic irony when the primary goal of the movie (other than making money and movies of course) was to portray somehow that fish are better off left in the wild. The message was simple: wild fish are unhappy trapped in tanks. Did anyone get the message? Maybe, but on the whole apparently not.

Hatcheries HAVE begun breeding clownfish in captivity, but they are unable to keep up with demand. When captive bred fish are not available, shops still resort to buying wild caught fish to keep from losing customers.

I did a similar internet search for the Slow Loris, this time to find an image to use in this article and the same three suggested searches came up first:
slow loris

Slow Loris
Slow loris for sale
Slow loris as pet
Slow loris legal in UK?
Slow loris legal in California?

This list goes on.

A few moments of youtube fame and now demand for these creatures as pets is believed to be an even bigger threat to their survival than habitat loss (which is a HUGE and immanent threat to most of Indonesia’s wildlife). Thousands of slow lorises, often just weeks old, are poached from the wild and illegally sold as pets every year. The trade takes place in various ways, from open selling of slow lorises on roadsides to smuggling them in poorly ventilated, overcrowded cages. Laws in their native Indonesia (and most of the rest of the world) ban the trade of slow lorises but the illegal wildlife trade is flourishing. Why? Because “I WANT ONE!!”.

You want one? Why? So it can be their new best friend? Dogs make good friends. There are thousands of them in shelters right now, looking for a place to call home. They’ve evolved over thousands of years to live around humans. We bred them that way. Cats are good too.. rabbits.. ferrets.. chickens.. guinea pigs. It’s the same story. Thousands of animals in shelters around the country ready and waiting to gratefully receive all that new best friend energy you just expressed.

Some animals are happy to live with humans who will take care of them. That’s fine, but too many people seem to be confusing domestic animals (or ‘pets’) with wild animals that will have miserable lives at best when kept out of their natural environments.

And it’s not just selfish. It’s incredibly damaging.

These shy little animals are part of dwindling populations in supremely delicate ecosystems already hugely threatened by human destruction of habitat. They are routinely and aggressively ripped from their natural environment and suffer terrible stress in the animal markets where they are dumped in small cramped cages, exposed to broad daylight and baking heat because “I want one!”. Their teeth are CUT OUT with nail clippers to protect the handler from the loris’s toxic bite and maintain their cute image. This painful mutilation causes terrible infections, often leading to a slow and painful death. Many slow lorises die before they have been sold.

That’s no way to treat your new best friend.

Image from International Animal Rescue of a Slow loris having its teeth painfully cut down with nail clippers by an illegal trader.

Image from International Animal Rescue of a Slow loris having its teeth painfully cut out with nail clippers by an illegal trader

Slow Lorises, Pangolins, Olinguito, Pigmy Sloths and Sea Slugs.. you name it, If it’s ‘cute’ and on the internet you can pretty much guarantee that there’s someone at the top of the first page of any search results literally begging people to tell them how to get hold of one. Which brings me back to our little blue sea slug.

Glaucus yahoo questions

The Glaucus Atlanticus only eats particular cells shed from the poisonous man of war jellyfish. Any attempt to keep one in a tank is widely considered on professional fish keeping forums to spell certain death for the creature involved. Captive breeding of this species is entirely unheard of.

To summarise: An exact translation of the suggested search ‘glaucus atlanticus pet?’ is ‘certain death of a wild animal’.

Will this stop industrious individuals in it’s native Mozambique and South Africa supplying tiny blue sea slugs to people exclaiming “I WANT ONE!!” from behind a fist full of dollars?

Every time someone squeals “I WANT ONE!!” someone somewhere hears it and a conservation nightmare continues to unfold.

Every time someone types “I WANT ONE!!” an animal dies for someones selfish want and ignorance. I’m being serious.
This is no exaggeration. I wish it was.

I’ll tell you what I want. I want the phrase “I want one!!” to be a thing of the past. It perpetuates the idea that wanting something is enough reason to turn its world upside-down, remove it from the wild and keep it in a tank so you can look at it whenever you like, an attitude that must cease if there is any hope of stemming this total devastation of fragile, dwindling populations of natures most awesome and appealing creatures.

If you really like awesome creatures, share this message with ‘animal lovers’ in danger of becoming part of the problem and maybe even donate some funds to the people at International Animal Rescue who are working to save the slow loris.

*Update:

“..but I REALLY, REALLY WANT ONE!! What if I can get a captive bred one legally?”

Please ask yourself WHY you want to keep an animal as a pet.

Obtaining captive bred exotic animals to keep as pets, even within the confines of the law, only serves to exacerbate already shocking conservation crises. If the kid next door has a pet sloth, I’ll bet you everything I own that at least three of their friends will make it their singular ambition to have one too. Everywhere there is a legal trade, there is also an illegal trade, driven by demand, nothing more. As demand increases, so do the cruel and damaging lengths that people will go to to make a quick buck.

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