Although the video has gone viral and it is not possible to know the precise location, the animal that appears in the image is a sloth of the genus Bradypus, of which the three-toed sloth and the common sloth are popularly known.
The expert explains that many think that only humans are intelligent and deny the intelligence of animals or their emotions – Photo: Reproduction / Social Networks
Andrews Nunes, biologist and master’s student in experimental psychology at USP and scientific disseminator through the Primatological Behavior page, saw the image and soon decided to take a position.
“The sloth was wet inside the boat and, as these animals are great swimmers, most likely, she was swimming to cross the river and someone saw her and decided to get her out of the water. She is clearly stressed and, in an attempt to get off the boat, puts her arms out to try to get back into the water. But as the boat was fast and the laziness has slow movements, she couldn’t get out of there ”, describes the specialist.
– Andrews Nunes (biologist)
In the video released, one of the people on the boat also strokes laziness, an inappropriate behavior that can generate incidents related to wild animals. “It is normal to admire the beauty of animals. However, the problem in this case is when the animal is being stressed and its behavior is mistakenly understood as something positive ”, defines Nunes.
Contact with these animals must always be done by professionals; ordinary people do not have the proper training to rescue or move the animal to other areas – Photo: Reproduction / Social networks
The identification of human characteristics, such as thoughts, conscience and motivations in animals, has gained even more space with social networks. But this appreciation and constant affection is well directed at some groups.
“When we see a snake, the tendency is to be afraid and to want to walk away. When we see a puppy, a cat, or even primates, the tendency is to want to hug, to catch these animals, because evolutionarily we had a closer relationship with them ”, describes the biologist referring to the group of mammals.
Based on this logic, the relationship becomes even more intense with primates. Monkeys and marmosets, close relatives of humans and organized in societies as complex as ours, tend to be even more humanized.
For domestication, some primates even have their canines pulled out to prevent them from biting – Photo: Reproduction
“There are videos and photos of primates wearing clothes and eating foods that are not part of their diet. These videos, by awakening this ‘cuteness’, can encourage people to look for primates to be domesticated, causing these animals to suffer at the hands of traffickers, in addition to being taken from the natural habitat at a very young age ”, describes the administrator of the Primatological Behavior page .
The tendency to look at wild animals from a human perspective even brings people closer to the risk of attack. When primates show their teeth looking like a smile, in fact, they warn that they are scared and feeling threatened. When sloths seem to ‘wave’ to the humans who rescued them, in reality, they are setting up the boat to claw and defend themselves.
People approach wild animals thinking that the behavior indicates an invitation or a joke, but the animal was scared or stressed, as in the image – Photo: César Cocco / Personal Archive
“I think that our behavior of putting our emotions in these animals is simply because we want to be the center of everything, the best in what we do and, therefore, we put animals in this humanized position. We have to start taking our own behaviors out of these animals and thinking about what their behavior really is ”, points out Nunes.
The scientific disseminator argues that information is the best tool to prevent these apparently “harmless” contents from transmitting messages that are aligned with trafficking, with excessive contact with wild animals and even with the unmanageable management of these species.
“Do not share photos and video of primates in clothing or in a situation that is not the natural environment for these animals. Look for information about what is really happening in the videos or photos shared on social networks. And, if you have doubts, ask a professional in the area ”, he concludes.
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