Japan Faces High Risk of Illegal Trade of Slow Lorises

illegal trade

There is a report of ongoing illegal trade of slow lorises in Japan despite of the fact that the trade was banned almost 10 years ago.  International trade of the animal was banned in 2007 under Washington convention.

However, the trade didn’t stop in the country. A report published in Asian Primates Journal, an Oxford Brookes University research group found that the lax in Japan’s enforcement of the national law is the cause of the ongoing trade. They also called for stronger penalties for lawbreakers and stricter legislative regulations in the country.

Masayuki Sakamoto of the Japan Wildlife Conservation Society said to BBC in 2007, “The pet shops advertise them, and they’re very popular to Japanese ladies.” She added commenting on the popularity of the animal, “They’re easy to keep, they don’t cry, they’re small, and just very cute”.

Japan is the largest market for slow lorises which can be found in Southeast Asia.  The prices range from US$1,500 to US$4,000. The research group pointed out some loopholes in the registration certificate, which can be obtained from Japan Wildlife Research Center for the transfer of slow lorises. Lorises obtained before the ban or bred domestically are allowed to sell only if they have this registration certificate.

They found that in 2014, 74 slow lorises among six threatened species were for sale in 2 pet shops in Tokyo and also in 18 online stores. Among the 74 slow lorises only 18 had the registration certificate. However, 3 of them appeared younger than 7, which implied that the certificates were fake.

Force Change,  a community comprised of passionate individual and fights for animal rights, has written a petition letter addressing the Minister of Environment, Hiroyuki Nagahama of Japan in 2012. In the petition it demanded prosecution of pet stores which are involved in the illegal trade of slow lorises.

The petition read, “they may appeal to pet owners, lorises just aren’t cut out for domestic life. Their highly specialized diet can only be found in their natural habitat, and their social tendencies lead them to become depressed when isolated in captivity. As a result, many slow lorises die soon after they’re taken home by human owners”.

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