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Is there a pet market in Jakarta?

I want to buy some cute accessories.

Slow lorises' are found across Southeast Asia. Nocturnal and carnivorous, they have extra vertebrae and hands missing a "finger", in order to help them catch their prey and move around unnoticed.

They secrete venom from their elbows, which they mix with saliva when they bite. But this means they are "treated very cruelly to make them into pets, by having their lower incisors and canines removed," says Professor Colin Groves, of the Australian National University.

"The dealer usually takes a pair of pliers and snaps them off. This is presumably very painful, and means that they can't feed themselves, so usually they die shortly after being purchased as pets," Prof Groves says.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has ruled there should be no commercial trade of these animals, but Anna Nekaris found crates of them being treated inhumanely and sold on the streets of Jakarta, with one animal fetching about $US25. She says they are sold to rich people in Indonesia, Russia, China and Japan.

"Java is a biodiversity hot-spot, and lots of wealthy people can afford and want lorises as exotic pets.

"Of the five slow loris species found already, the Javan slow loris in the most endangered, and we have a proposal in to the IUCN to raise it to critically endangered because it has the most limited geographic range," says Anna Nekaris.

"The other lorises are also threatened by the pet trade - it has a huge geographic range, and there's probably a lot of undescribed species that still remain."

Of the two species of the slow loris's cousin, the slender loris, the red slender loris is also endangered.

Jakarta Forum