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A slow loris in Patong last night as a prelude to being freed in the wild

Phuket Raiders Arrest Five Bangla Touts

Thursday, October 4, 2012
PHUKET: Officers from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation swooped on Phuket's famous Soi Bangla walking street tonight.

They arrested five people who were allegedly in possession of five slow lorises, a protected native species.

Negotiations were taking place tonight at Kathu Police Station, with the five alleged handlers seeking bail.

But the parks department officers said that whether or not the five accused obtained bail was a different issue to the future of the lorises.

''The animals will be taken to a protected area in Phuket's east and returned to the wild,'' the officer said.

Tourists have complained regularly about the presence of the animals in Patong's Soi Bangla walking street, where touts offer them to tourists to have their photographs taken with the cuddly animals.

While some tourists are attracted to the idea, others understand the need for the animals to be left in the wild and walk past without stopping.

The need for animals to be protected in Thailand is becoming more widely understood.

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