With the international firestorm raging around the murder of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, there's been plenty of debate over the value of social-media outrage and the opportunity cost of prolonged focus on one tragedy over others. Leave it to our pals at Because I Said I Would to help reroute our perceptions a bit.
Last month, a local woman named Nadia cut a video with the nonprofit to reveal the plight of slow lorises — Southeast Asian primates known in the U.S. mostly for "cute" appearances in Youtube videos. These animals are illegally traded around the world, though they don't often catch headlines for that.
Nadia describes a trip to the Cleveland Zoo, where she encountered slow lorises in 2004. Last summer, she traveled to Indonesia to work at a rescue center. She fell in love with the animals and began thinking of all the things she could do to help them. Based on the dissonance between Internet videos and the global primate trafficking circuit, she found out that there was a lot to do.
For one, slow lorises tend to look adorable when they're tickled. Their eyes get bigger, and they raise their arms up. Nadia points out that the animals are actually in frightened defense mode when they're being tickled, making those videos more horrifying than they appear on face value.
Slow lorises that are captured (for pet ownership, usually) often have their teeth removed, preventing them from being able to survive in the wild in the future. Because the aforementioned Youtube videos have really driven up demand for slow loris ownership, the species is inching closer toward endangerment.
And so, per Because I Said I Would's forward-thinking structure, Nadia promises: "I will move to Indonesia and help work towards saving slow lorises."
For more information on how to support Slow Lorises, please visit ticklingistorture.org and internationalanimalrescue.org.