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
The slender Loris has extremely thin arms and legs. Its face is dominated by huge round eyes which give it excellent night vision and enable it to hunt for insects during the night. Populations of this small primate are declining because their forest habitats are being destroyed for logging, agriculture and development.
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). In the past there has been considerable confusion over slender loris classification. 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). Its small face is dominated by huge round eyes and prominent ears, which are thin, rounded and hairless at the edges. The soft dense fur is a grey or reddish-brown color 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).
This species is among the most social of the nocturnal primates. During daylight hours the animals sleep in groups in branch tangles, or curled up on a branch with their heads between their legs. At night the animals go their separate ways, moving slowly and silently through the trees in search of food. The red lorises differ from their grey congeners in their frequent use of rapid arboreal locomotion, despite their reputation of being slow and sloth-like. Their large eyes provide them with excellent night vision. Although they are primarily insectivorous, lorises also eat gum, bird’s eggs and small vertebrates, such as geckos and lizards. They consume every part of their prey, including the scales and bones.
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. The lifespan of this species is believed to be around 15-18 years in the wild.
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 rain forests 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. Forests in Sri Lanka are rapidly being cleared for logging, agriculture (particularly tea, rubber, cinnamon and oil palm plantations) and human settlement, leaving slender loris populations stranded in poor quality forest fragments, where there is often insufficient food and shelter. The use of agricultural pesticides may be reducing the quantity of insect prey in some areas, and accumulation of some insecticides is thought to be negatively affecting lorises. Current geological surveys have reported that the Horton Plain and other montane peaks contain high levels of lead pollution and there are fears that this may be leading to decreased fertility in the lorises that occur there. Over-collection of firewood is also causing a problem because villagers are not only collecting dead wood but also cutting down the under-story plants, many of which contain seedlings of important cloud forest trees. There are also reports of the slender lorises being electrocuted on power lines, or killed while crossing roads.
The 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