Regulation Makes Good Things Into Bad

Dave Killion — February 17, 2013

Already challenged by human overpopulation, black-market wildlife trading, global warming, and habitat loss, the Slow Loris makes matters worse for itself… by being too darned cute

“According to the study, wildlife photographers in Thiruvananthapuram – the capital city of Kerala- pay Rs. 500 to 1500 to the indigenous Kani tribes in the areas to capture Slender Lorises and arrange photo shoots. The practice occurs despite the fact that the animal is protected under Schedule I of The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Apart from capturing and keeping it, the Lorises are often tightly held on short branches and prodded so that it won’t move during a photo shoot; to help the ‘professional wildlife photographer’ get enough good pictures. Moreover, the poor animal will be illuminated with torches aimed at it, says the study. It is a known fact that aiming strong light sources like torches and camera flashes at Slender Lorises for longer, will be irritating to the animal since it has very sensitive, large eyes to help their nocturnal life.

The study team has also noted that the animal captured for such photo shoots are not returned to the place from (which) it was collected.”

Sounds rough. But consider the Yorkshire Terrier.

Survival Of The Fittest

Unlike the Slow Loris, there is no habitat in which Yorkies can survive unassisted, under any circumstances. Yet not only does cuteness fail to handicap the Yorkie as it allegedly does the Slow Loris, it is, in fact, a Yorky’s chief asset. Indeed, without cuteness, the Yorkshire Terrier would not exist at all. What explains the difference? It is this – because there is a largely free market for Yorkies, breeders can produce as many of them as the world desires, with no fear of criminal penalty, but the only way to acquire a Slow Loris is to have it stolen from the wild. The former practice increases and sustains a population, while the latter diminishes it. All in all, a pretty good example of how regulation turns assets into liabilities.


Hat tip: The dependably ridiculous Boingboing

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