R&B singer Rihanna visited the island of Phuket, Thailand, over the weekend, sharing with millions of fans snapshots of her getaway and, in the process, inadvertently leading police to charge two people with possession of protected animals.
The 30-year-old posted a shot Friday evening
of her posing with a slow loris, a primate native to Southeast Asia and listed as either "Vulnerable" or "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List.
"I had an order from the Phuket Governor to do a raid today after Rihanna posted a photo of her with the loris," Awat Nithikil of Khao Phra Taew Forest Preserve, told Phuket News
. "It is very difficult to do the raids because the touts have spies. If someone hears police are coming their way, there will be a person who tells them to move," he added.
Two people — a 20-year-old man and and a 16-year-old boy — were arrested and charged with possession of protected animals. According to the AP, the charge carries with it a penalty of up to four years in prison and a 40,000 baht ($1,300) fine.
Slow lorises are often smuggled around the world for use as pets — yet they have a mortality rate of between 30 to 90 percent while in transit. They also have a potentially deadly bite
, which sellers attempt to remedy by removing their front teeth with wire cutters or pliers. This cruel practice, which sometimes results in shock or death, dooms the loris to a lifetime of captivity since they can no longer fend for themselves in the wild.
To learn more about the slow loris and the efforts underway to protect them, check out the video series below.
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