A selfie taken by American pop-star Rihanna posted on the singer’s Instagram account has led to the arrest of two Thai animal keepers.
The photo (below), which now has over 230,000 likes, shows Rihanna holding a slow loris, a protected primate species. The high-profile post alerted authorities in Phuket leading to the arrest of the two men, said to be 20 and 16 years of age, for possession of a protected animal.
Phuket district chief Weera Kerdsirimongkon said:
“Phuket authorities were alerted to the picture [of Rihanna], and last night police arrested the two individuals who brought out the loris as a photo opportunity for tourists. It’s like a cat-and-mouse game. But this time it’s bigger because a celebrity like Rihanna posted the picture, and there were more than 200,000 ‘likes’ from around the world.”
Although it’s possible Rihanna had no knowledge of the slow loris’ protected status, she has played a part in these two men being caught. The duo now face up to four years in prison if they are convicted, or a fine of roughly 40,000 baht (around $1350 AUD).