Disappearing slender loris

Endangered animals

Sri Lanka is a beautiful tiny island located in the Indian Ocean in Southern Asia, Sri Lanka is a land faced with many environmental challenges, including deforestation and the erosion of coasts due to mining. In addition to these issues, the CIA World Factbook reports that the wildlife is threatened by poachers, pollution and the expansion of urban areas.

Slender loris, which is an endangered animal in Sri Lanka and it is fast disappearing from the jungle. Wildlife observation tours are a very popular activity among the foreign travellers of Sri Lanka and a large number of travellers take part in jungle safari and bird watching tours. Reducing wild animals population wild animal species invariably affects the development of the wildlife holidays, which is an important branch of the tourism sector on the country.

Slender Loris

The legs and arms of slender loris are very thin. The number of slender lorises if fast diminishing on the island of Sri Lanka mainly due to human activities. The living habitat of slender loris is fast diminishing due to the deforestation, which identified as the main reason for the threat for the existence of this primate.

The Lorisidae comprises the African angwantibos and pottos and the Asian lorises. These species are thought to share a common ancestor with the bushbabies of Africa (the Galagidae) and the lemurs of Madagascar. The fossil record of the lorids extends back to the Early Miocene (20 million years ago).

Most authorities now recognize two species of slender loris: Loris tardigradus (with 2 subspecies, both occurring in Sri Lanka) and Loris lydekkerianus (with 4 subspecies, occurring in both India and Sri Lanka).

The name slender loris derived from its slender arms and legs. L. tardigradus is smaller than its relative the grey slender loris (L. lydekkerianus). Compared to its body size the eyes of slender loris is small, while the ears are prominent. The earlaps of slender loris are thin, round and no hair at the edges.

The soft dense fur is a grey or reddish-brown colour on the back, depending on the subspecies. The underside is whitish-grey. The species has no tail. The highland slender loris (L. t. nycticeboides) has shorter, thicker limbs relative to body length, a larger head, and thicker fur which completely cover the ears. It superficially resembles the Asian slow loris (Nycticebus coucang).

Very little is known about the social organization of this primate. Mating takes place throughout the year, with no reproductive seasonality. The gestation period is 166-169 days, after which time the females give birth to one or two young. The young are nursed for 6-7 months. This animal lives between 15 to 18 years.

Endemic to Sri Lanka. The red slender loris (Loris tardigradus tardigradus) is distributed in the south and southwestern parts of the country, in the tropical rainforests and inter-monsoon forests of the wet zone of Sri Lanka.

The highland slender loris (L. t. nycticeboides) is known only from the central highlands of Sri Lanka. It has been observed in five forest patches to date: Horton Plains National Park, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, Haggala Strict Natural Reserve, Pattipola forest reserve, and Bomuruella forest reserve.

Both subspecies are declining as a result of habitat degradation and fragmentation. The deforestation rate in the island is accelerated in the recent past. Expansion of farmlands, expansion of human settlements, and development activities are the key reasons for the rapid loss of the forest cover in Sri Lanka.

This species is protected by law in Sri Lanka and is listed on Appendix II of CITES. The red slender loris (Loris tardigradus tardigradus) is distributed in the south and southwestern parts of the country, in the tropical rainforests and intermonsoon forests of the wet zone.