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Rihanna Instagram selfie with slow loris leads to arrests in Thailand

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Sept. 22, 2013 at 6:27 PM   |   Comments

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- If you follow Rihanna on Instagram, you might have noticed that the 25-year-old pop star was recently in Thailand -- posing in swimwear, sampling local cuisine and meeting exotic wildlife. It's the latter that has prompted outrage from animal welfare groups and led to the arrest of two Thai peddlers.

The trouble started when Rihanna posted a photo of herself with an adorable slow loris -- an endangered animal already familiar to many Internet users -- which she captioned, "Look who was talkin dirty to me! #Thailand #nightlife."

While the slow loris is native to Southeast Asia, it's illegal for vendors to charge tourists money in exchange for photos with the animals.

Wildlife advocates and government officials who saw the image were immediately called to action.

"I had an order from the Phuket Governor to do a raid today after Rihanna posted a photo of her with the loris," said Awat Nithikul, leader of the Wildlife Suppression Patrol Officers who investigated the incident.

"This is a big deal because it might affect Thailand's reputation," he added.

Two men were arrested in the raid on Bangla Road in Phuket -- they could face up to four years in prison.

Follow @KateStan and @UPI on Twitter.
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