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Tourists make this primate commit suicide

AFP: Tiny primate from Philippines will "kill itself by bashing its head against a tree"
Tarsier philippinesEnlarge
BOHOL, PHILIPPINES: A tarsier munches on a cricket in a widlife sanctuary in the central Philippine island of Bohol 20 January 2006. (JOEL NITO/AFP/Getty Images)

This Agence France Presse story on the endangered tarsier, a tiny primate native to the Philippines, takes some unexpected and disturbing turns.

A Filipino conservationist known as the "Tarsier Man" teaches us that this nocturnal creature is "highly sensitive to daylight, noise and human contact."

So sensitive, in fact, that human proximity -- or a camera flash -- can stir so much anxiety in the tarsier that it will bash its own tender skull on a tree trunk. Confining the bug-eyed primate is even worse.

"They don't breathe and slowly die. If you put them in a cage they want to go out. That's why they bump their heads on the cage, and it will crack because the cranium is so thin," the Tarsier Man tells AFP.

Later in the piece, a guide warns tarsier-loving tourists that "if you touch, they die. They are so very sensitive."

Here's another delightful tarsier photo. We can only hope that the photographer switched off his flash.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/tourists-make-primate-commit-suicide