ITV2 has a series called Super Tiny Animals, which depicts various small animals as pets every week. This program regularly depicts small wild animals as pets without emphasising its conservation status or the unsuitability of such animals as pets. In particular, on Monday 3rd of September, Super Tiny Animals showed a clip of a slow loris from Youtube, clearly in the context of the loris as a cute pet: At 34 mins and 56 seconds, the program stated "Exotics are animals not normally classed as domestic pets, but increasingly many are becoming so, not least because some of them have become Youtube sensations such as Sonya the ticklish slow loris [followed by clip of a pet slow loris being "tickled"].”
In this occasion, the slow loris has clearly been contexualised and portrayed to the audience as an exotic pet which is increasing in popularity. They provided no information on its endangered species status, the illegality of it, nor the difficulties in keeping such an animal as a pet (see http://www.internationalanimalrescue.org/projects/25/Saving+the+slow+loris.html for more information).
It is even more infuriating as the youtube clip of the "tickling slow loris" had been presented on a BBC documentary as particularly damaging to conservation, broadcast on the 25th January 2012 on BBC2’s Natural World (a clip can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF9-Dp3unTU ). Yet, Super Tiny Animals used this clip to show the loris as an exotic, cute pet- an act so many campaigners and organisations protest against.
Portraying endangered species as pets are utterly unacceptable and irresponsible. It encourages people to want them as pets, fueling the black market & illegal trading. Such illegal pet trades devastate the Slow Loris population. It is embarrassing for ITV to hold a policy where endangered, illegal animals are openly portrayed as 'cute pets.' ITV must amend this immediately, and to never show endangered species such as slow lorises as potential pets.
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