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02/07/2012 03:28 pm ET

Orangutans Eat Slow Lorises When Plants Are Scarce, Research Suggests (VIDEO)

Sumatran Orangutans are primarily vegetarians, but more evidence has emerged that some of the primates actually have a taste for meat.

A female named Yet, only the fifth individual orangutan to be observed eating meat, was filmed devouring one of the world's cutest animals -- the slow loris.

In the video below, Yet and her baby can be seen sharing a slow loris that the mother killed. According to NewScientist, Yet has been observed four times, "systematically" hunting and killing the lorises before eating them.

Yet's behavior, which was documented by a team under Madeleine Hardus from the University of Amsterdam, was recently described in the International Journal of Primatology.

Hardus and her colleagues found that, unlike other primate species that hunt "when fruit and their energy are abundant," orangutans hunt during more desparate times, reported Mother Jones.

According to the researchers' paper, "Slow loris captures occurred only during low ripe fruit availability, suggesting that meat may represent a filler fallback food for orangutans."

In the hands of an orangutan, the slow loris may appear to be the more physically vulnerable creature, but orangutans actually face greater threats in the wild.

Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) are currently listed as "critically endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It has been estimated that Sumatran orangutan populations have decreased by "over 80% over the last 75 years."

As a result, the World Wildlife Fund included Sumatran orangutans on their recent list of endangered animals that are most in need of our help.

Sadly, a 2011 survey found that villagers on the Indonesian side of Borneo killed "at least 750 endangered orangutans over a yearlong period," according to the Associated Press.

Although they are currently listed as "vulnerable," slow loris (Nycticebus coucang) populations are declining, according to the IUCN. "Extensive habit loss" and their use in the exotic pet trade have decreased slow loris populations by around 30 percent.

A recent BBC documentary, "Jungle Gremlins of Java," exposed the cruel practices surrounding the slow loris pet trade. When captured, slow lorises' teeth are often ripped out with nail clippers, according to The Week.

Despite their cuteness and pet appeal for some, the BBC documentary has prompted negative reactions to videos of slow lorises as pets.

WATCH:
[WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL AUDIENCES.]

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