Last updated at 2:46 PM on 1st June 2011
Their cuteness has made them an internet sensation. But ther popularity is now threatening their very survival.
Thanks to millions of hits on YouTube slow lorises have become a must-have pet - and are being plucked from their natural habitat in the rainforests of south-east Asia and traded for up to £3,500.
But what happens to them before they are 'customer ready' makes their plight even more distressing.
They have to have their teeth ripped out with nail clippers so that they don't cause an injury to their new owners.
Scroll down for a video. WARNING: Graphic image below
Their large eyes add to the cuteness of the slow lorises but there are fears the primates will soon become extinct
THE REAL-LIFE FURBIES
Slow lorises are found in south and south-east Asia, including Indonesia, Burma, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia.
They live in rainforests and mangrove forests, preferring high dense canopies they can easily travel across.
The creatures are omnivores, eating insects, small birds and reptiles, eggs, fruits and other vegetation.
As a defence mechanism lorises will bite aggressors, producing a toxin to infect the wounds. To humans the bites cause a painful swelling, but the toxin is mild and not fatal.
The single reported case of human death by loris bite was believed to have resulted from anaphylactic shock.
There is a global high protection order under endangered species conventions meaning they can't be transported to the UK but the black market is rife and it is feared that many are smuggled in.
The population of slow lorises has declined to the point that there are now fears over their survival and they could soon become extinct.
Two of the endangered primates were smuggled aboard a Brisbane-bound flight from Singapore but had to be put down by quarantine officers.
The crew on the Emirates flight found them in the cabin during the filght and when the plane landed in Australia customs officials took the animals.
A spokesman said: 'Slow lorises can carry several diseases... including rabies and they also have a bite that is toxic.'
The creatures have their teeth removed with nail clippers before they are sold as 'pets'. They usually become infected and, unable to eat, die a slow and painful death
The charity International Animal Rescue campaigns to raise awareness to try and stop people from taking one of the primates.
On it's website, the charity says: 'These harmless little animals suffer terrible stress from exposure to the sunlight at these markets where they are dumped in cramped cages. These timid creatures normally move about quietly in the darkness of the night.
'The markets, where they are surrounded by other animals and people, are a nightmare for them. Tragically, many of them die from trauma even before they have been sold.
The popular children's Furby toy has a striking resemblance to the slow loris. Student Richard Moore, left, is working on conservation research in Java on behalf of International Animal Rescue to help their survival
'To prevent them from using their venomous bite, traders cruelly cut their teeth using wire cutters. This ghastly mutilation causes terrible infections, often leading to a slow and painful death.
'In some areas of Indonesia, slow lorises are brutally killed for use in traditional medicine. This is having a huge impact on wild loris populations.
'Numbers of this endangered primate are difficult to assess; status surveys have found them to occur in dramatically low densities when compared to other primates inhabiting the same forests. 'In some countries where they were known to be abundant, few to no lorises can found in the wild today, suggesting that illegal trade may be the cause of population decline.'
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this is one of the reasons i hate people they think they are so much better than other life i hope anyone who has done this to a sweet innocent creature gets the evil back they deserve 3 times
- michel, usa, 01/6/2011 16:25
Mogwai....not for sale.
- horseloverphat, poosville, planet earth, 01/6/2011 16:18
Some animals just aren't designed to be domestic pets. Also, to see what they have to go through in order for them to be the 'must have pet' is unbelievably cruel.
- Pip, United Kingdom, 01/6/2011 16:08
I wish that humans could be treated the same way they treat animals.
- Immigrant who pays her OWN taxes, Coventry, 01/6/2011 16:07
this is so evil i cryed reading this, shame on anyone who has brought one
- gg, USA, 01/6/2011 16:01
They are so cute but should not be kept as pets it encourages cruelty and suffering,the people who catch/breed,sell them don;t care about there welfare.Pulling there teeth out must cause them so much pain.good luck to International Animal Rescue.
- lili, uk, 01/6/2011 15:56
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