Navigation Links
3 new species of venomous primate identified by MU researcher
Date:12/13/2012

A venomous primate with two tongues would seem safe from the pet trade, but the big-eyed, teddy-bear face of the slow loris (Nycticebus sp.) has made them a target for illegal pet poachers throughout the animal's range in southeastern Asia and nearby islands. A University of Missouri doctoral student and her colleagues recently identified three new species of slow loris. The primates had originally been grouped with another species. Dividing the species into four distinct classes means the risk of extinction is greater than previously believed for the animals but could help efforts to protect the unusual primate.

"Four separate species are harder to protect than one, since each species needs to maintain its population numbers and have sufficient forest habitat," said lead author Rachel Munds, MU doctoral student in anthropology in the College of Arts and Science. "Unfortunately, in addition to habitat loss to deforestation, there is a booming black market demand for the animals. They are sold as pets, used as props for tourist photos or dismembered for use in traditional Asian medicines."

According to Munds, slow lorises are not domesticated and are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. She contends that keeping the animals as pets is cruel and that domesticating them is not feasible.

"Even zoos have difficulty meeting their nutritional needs for certain insects, tree gums and nectars," said Munds. "Zoos rarely succeed in breeding them. Nearly all the primates in the pet trade are taken from the wild, breaking the bonds of the lorises' complex and poorly understood social structures. The teeth they use for their venomous bite are then torn out. Many of them die in the squalid conditions of pet markets. Once in the home, pet keepers don't provide the primates with the social, nutritional and habitat requirements they need to live comfortably. Pet keepers also want to play with the nocturnal animals during the day, disrupting their sleep patterns."

The newly identified species hail from the Indonesian island of Borneo. Munds and her colleagues observed that the original single species contained animals with significantly different body sizes, fur thickness, habitats and facial markings. Museum specimens, photographs and live animals helped primatologists parse out four species from the original one. Now instead of one animal listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, there may be four endangered or threatened species. This potential change in conservation status may serve to draw attention the plight of the primates and increase legal protections.

"YouTube videos of lorises being tickled, holding umbrellas or eating with forks have become wildly popular," said Anna Nekaris, study co-author, primatology professor at Oxford Brookes University and MU graduate. "CNN recently promoted loris videos as 'feel good' entertainment. In truth, the lorises gripping forks or umbrellas were simply desperate to hold something. The arboreal animals are adapted to spending their lives in trees constantly clutching branches. Pet keepers rarely provide enough climbing structures for them."

The pet trade isn't the only threat to loris survival. The animals also are used in Asian traditional medicines. The methods used to extract the medicines can be exceedingly violent, according to Nekaris, who also is director of the slow loris advocacy organization, Little Fireface Project. For example, in order to obtain tears of the big-eyed lorises, skewers are inserted into the animals' anuses and run through their bodies until they exit the mouth. The still-living animals are then roasted over a smoky fire and the tears that stream from their eyes are collected and used to supposedly treat eye diseases in humans.


'/>"/>
Contact: Timothy Wall
walltj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Discovered! The new species of Borneos enigmatic primate with a toxic bite
2. Galapagos tortoises are a migrating species
3. Three new arthropod species have been found in the Maestrazgo Caves in Teruel
4. American University biologist discovers new crab species
5. At least one-third of marine species remain undescribed
6. New ancient shark species gives insight into origin of great white
7. Researchers to study impacts of pollutant nitrogen on plant species diversity
8. After long-ago mass extinction, global warming hindered species recovery
9. Report: Bushmeat pushes Southern African species to the brink
10. Major changes needed to protect Australias species and ecosystems
11. One click away: Finding data on Floridas endangered species just got easier
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/10/2016)... --> --> ... and Access Management Market by Component (Provisioning, Directory Services, ... Organization Size, by Deployment, by Vertical, and by Region ... market is estimated to grow from USD 7.20 Billion ... a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.2% during ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... March 9, 2016 Nigeria ... that more than 23,000 public service employees either did ... receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ... identified that more than 23,000 public service employees either ... been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... 2016  FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, awarded ... & Development, Leadership in Education, and, in a category ... th year of the FLEXI Awards and the ... from past years . Judging was done on ... of criteria, by a panel of non-affiliated, independent, industry ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... PrecisionAg® Media has released ... and Beyond. The paper outlines the key trends that are creating both opportunities ... witnessed a lot of highs and lows as the precision agriculture market has ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... BOSTON and LONDON , May 23, ... 10 Could See Frontage Boost Efficiency by 40% - ... - Frontage Enforce Quality, Compliance and Traceability Within the ... (CRO) with labs in the United States ... 10 to be deployed across its laboratory facilities. In addition ...
(Date:5/22/2016)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2016 , ... ... powerful weapons in combating the asbestos cancer, malignant mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted ... , Researchers in the University of Rome’s Department of Clinical Sciences and Translational Medicine ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... 20, 2016 , ... Korean researchers say Manumycin A triggers apoptosis, or natural ... to treat the disease. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted an article on the new ... institutions based their mesothelioma study on the fact the Manumycin A, a derivative of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: