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Lorises Allegedly Found In Underwear Of Smuggler In Delhi Airport

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A slender loris in its natural habitat.
A slender loris in its natural habitat.

Three men were arrested after one was allegedly caught with a small primate stuffed in his underwear at an Indian airport.

Hamad Al-Dhaheri, Mohammed Al-Shamsi and Rashid Al-Shamsi are accused of smuggling slender lorises, chipmunk-sized primates that are frequently trafficked to be sold as pets, The Hindu reports.

The men were apprehended at an airport in Delhi while en route from Bangkok to Dubai, after a routine pat-down revealed a suspicious bulge that turned out to be one of the big-eyed critters.

Which of the three men was allegedly had the primate in his pants is unclear. A second animal was found abandoned in a nearby trash can, CNN reports.

The condition of the lorises was "OK, but deteriorating," a customs official told the BBC. Both animals were put in the custody of wildlife authorities and are now being treated at a hospital.

The slender loris is a nocturnal animal native to the rainforests India and Sri Lanka. Its cousin, the slow loris, became an Internet sensation in 2009, when a YouTube user uploaded a video of a slow loris being tickled.

Both types of lorises are threatened by poachers who capture them as infants animals to be traded as pets. Because slow lorises have venomous teeth, poachers remove them, a process that sentences many animals to death via infection. Still more lorises die during transportation to market.

Primate conservation expert Dr. Anna Nekaris notes that the lovable loris of the famous YouTube video may not be as happy as it looks. The bright daylight is painful to the eyes of the nocturnal critter, she told the Independent, and the animal is allowing itself to be tickled as a passive defense mechanism to cope with stress.

Around the Web

BBC News - Men arrested hiding loris in underwear at Delhi airport

Airport guards catch man smuggling rare primate in his pants - CNN ...