This is a story about a baby pygmy slow loris. This smallest species of slow loris occurs also in Vietnam. The Kukang project focuses primarily on the greater and Sumatran slow loris in Sumatra. However, it is necessary to realize that the issue of illegal trade in slow lorises and their popularization on the internet threatens all slow loris species worldwide.
Tropical rainforest in Vietnam, a place with almost 100% air humidity and thousands of plants and animals. A place that is home to incredible animals that people go to see to zoological gardens all over the world. This place hides also a mysterious nocturnal creature called slow loris. In such a dense rainforest a slow loris baby named Sonya was just born. Sonya lived happily with her mother who had taught her how to survive in that forest. One day, when Sonya was still very young, poachers came and stole her from her mother's arms. She did not understand why those big beings were doing this. She was anxiously calling her mother, whistling, and trying to call her even with her ultrasound used by young if they feel endangered. Unfortunately, her wail could not be heard because her mother was cruelly killed by poachers while defending her only baby.
Sonya was desperate and after a few days in awful conditions, in an overfilled and poorly ventilated cage, she was surrendered. She felt a bit of hope when the big creatures added two more small slow lorises to her cage. All three lorises immediately held tightly. Sonya felt they were being transported for days. The only thing the big beings gave them to eat were pieces of bananas. After a few days, she could feel only one of the two friends holding her. She turned her head and saw the second one lying dead in the corner of the cage. He was too small to survive such stress and cruel conditions. At that moment the cage was opened and Sonya was blinded by sudden strong sunlight burning in a hot street of a noisy city, in conditions so different from her home. She survived this journey, it could not be worse! Sonya and her friend were taken by another big creature – a trader. This man took her in one hand and was holding pliers in the second one. Sonya was frightened and began to whistle, the trader violently opened her mouth and immediately, without any anesthetic, he began to pull her teeth. She could not stand the pain. That minute before she lost all the teeth felt like an eternity. Her friend went as the second – same pliers, same process. The tradesman did it so the young could not bite their new owners and thus become more manipulable and “suitable” pets. Yes, this is what Sonya should become – a toy for young of the big creatures who killed her mother. Sonya and her friend were thrown into the cage exposed to burning sun next to a dusty road. However, her friend did not hold her anymore. He lost a lot of blood and died within a few hours. This incredibly painful procedure was why he bled to death. Sonya was alone again. And as if this was not enough, she got an infection in her gums that could kill her soon. But she did not want to die and so she was fighting and believed that hopefully, it was just a bad dream from which she would wake up soon.
Unfortunately, this all was just the beginning of the story she was about to experience. After a few days, someone came for Sonya and took her far from that place. However, she was not saved at all. She survived the infection and appeared in a living room of her new owners who feed her unsuitable food, keep taking her to a blinding light and they even “tickle” her. Sonya is still raising her arms which her owners find funny. It is funny for them because they do not understand behaviour and physiology of slow lorises. Sonya shows the typical defending position of slow lorises who are the only poisonous primates in the world and they secrete the poison from their poison glands on the inner sides of their elbows. By raising her arms Sonya is trying to approach her elbows to her mouth so she could lick the poison and - after mixing it with her saliva - bite and put the poison in the wound. Sonya has even become a celebrity all around the world as her owners made a video of her being “tickled” and put the video on the internet. This video where Sonya was “tickled” by her owners has been seen on youtube.com by several millions of people from the whole world. Those millions of people have not found it cruel but cute. People think it is cute and want to get their own Sonya who they could tickle. And therefore, all the young that currently happily live in tropical rainforests do not know in what danger they are from the big beings who in fact are their remote relatives – the people!