PHUKET: Police are looking into a wildlife expert’s concerns that slow lorises being touted in Phuket and other popular tourist destinations in Thailand are being drugged with methamphetamine or another stimulant.
“My officers will be keeping an eye out for slow loris touts. After we make an arrest, we will be questioning them about whether or not they are drugging the animals. It will be part of our standard line of questioning,” Patong Police Deputy Superintendent Akanit Danpitaksat confirmed to the Phuket Gazette yesterday.
The head of the Phang Nga Wildlife Nursery Station, which takes in slow lorises and other protected species confiscated from touts in the region, became concerned about the issue after numerous rescued
slow lorises died from unknown causes at the facility.
“We have had many slow lorises mysteriously die, following them coming into our care,” Wanchai Supanaus explained to the Gazette. “These are nocturnal animals. However, something is being done to keep them alert and awake at all times – day and night. I think it is very likely that they are being drugged with some form of amphetamine.”
Despite Mr Wanchai’s concerns, none of the animals that have mysteriously died have been tested for a drug-related cause of death.
Mr Wanchai called on everyone to immediately notify police, if they spot touts attempting use the protected species to create photo opportunities for tourists.
“Instead of paying to get ride of the touts, you need to call the police. I am confident that the police will handle the situation as necessary, and we will be able to have better understanding of whether or not the animals are being drugged,” Mr Wanchai said.
— Chutharat Plerin