EDGE Community


Project information

[Project name/title]
Conservation status of Sri Lanka's montane primates, with a focus on the critically endangered Montane slender Loris


[Project description/overview]


Location:
Sri Lanka

Project type:
Conservation

Relevant EDGE species:
Red Slender Loris (Loris tardigradus)

Project members:
Saman Gamage
Wasantha Liyanage




Relevant species
67. Red Slender Loris (Loris tardigradus) EN

The slender loris is characterised by its enormous eyes and extremely thin limbs.

[Relevance description]
Aims
The main aim of this project is to obtain baseline information on Loris tardigradus nycticeboides, Semnopithecus vetulus monticola and Macaca sinica opisthomelas and their habitats to initiate an effective long-term conservation plan. And promote the conservation of this species and its habitat through raise awareness among the local and international community.
 
Background
Sri Lanka has a long history of protection of wildlife and sustainable use of forests product. However, due to the rapid expansion of the industrial economy and the large-scale commercialized farming, respect for nature has been rapidly declining throughout the country. The main natural vegetation in the wet zone is known as rainforest and the rainforest of the hill country (>1800m) is classified as cloud forests (pigmy forests) and those ecosystems are critically endangered due to human activities. According to government resources during last 42 years, the country has lost 50% of its forest cover. In addition, 80% of hill country forests were lost to coffee and tea plantations in the 19th century. This trend is continuing as high elevation natural forest is being converted to agriculture (vegetable plots and dairy pasture) and is cut for firewood.

According to current literature five species of non-human primates live in Sri Lanka viz. Purple faced leaf monkey Semnopithecus vetulus, Torque macaque Macaca sinica, Gray langure (Semnopithecus priam) and two species of Slender loris. The Purple faced leaf monkey has currently recognized four subspecies and the Bare monkey (Trachypithecus vetulus monticola) only confined to montane region of the country. Sri Lanka are home to two species of slender loris (Loris tardigradus and L. lydekkerianus), with four currently recognized subspecies, L. t. tardigradus, L. t. nycticeboides, L. l. nordicus, and L. l. grandis. The red slender loris, Loris tardigradus is endemic to Sri Lanka. The conservation status of this species (L. tardigradus) has since been elevated to the Endangered category (IUCN, 2004). The sub species L. t. nycticeboides is restricted to the montane region above 1800 m sea level.

In the montane forest whose fauna and floras are under threat from heavy human pressure. Very few studies have ever been carried out on this subspecies (L. t. nycticeboides & Semnopithecus vetulus monticola, & Macaca sinica opisthomelas) resulting in a deficiency of data, unknown conservation and species status, and an uncertain future. After winning the bp future conservationist award 2006 Saman Gamage and his team started a one-year study of L. t. nycticeboides in the Horton Plains National Park. During the study the team interviewed some elder people around the Nuwara Eliya and most of them reported having seen slender lorises more than 15 years ago in some of the montane forest patches. The team set out to conduct intensive surveys in the selected forest patches in the Nuwara Eliya, Rathnapura and Mathale districts viz. Agra-Bopath Proposed Forest Reserve, Bogawanthalawa Proposed Forest Reserve, Conical Hill Proposed Forest Reserve, Kandapola Sita-Eliya Forest Reserve, Kikilimana Proposed Forest Reserve, Meepilimana Forest Reserve, Pattipola-Ambewela Proposed Forest Reserve, Hakggala Strict Natural Reserve, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, Knuckles Conservation Forest
 
Project summary
According to government resources during last 42 years, the country has lost 50% of its forest cover. In addition, 80% of hill country forests were lost to coffee and tea plantations in the 19th century. In the montane forest whose fauna and floras are under threat from heavy human pressure. Very few studies have ever been carried out on this subspecies (L. t. nycticeboides & Trachypithecus vetulus monticola, & Macaca sinica opisthomelas) resulting in a deficiency of data, unknown conservation and species status, and an uncertain future. After winning the BP future conservationist award 2006 Saman Gamage and his team started a one-year study of L. t. nycticeboides in the Horton Plains National Park. During the reconnaissance survey the team interviewed some elder people around the Nuwara Eliya and most of them reported having seen slender lorises more than 15 years ago in some of the montane forest patches. The team set out to conduct intensive surveys in the selected forest patches in the Nuwara Eliya, Rathnapura, and Mathale districts.
 
Objectives
1. To study of abundance and distribution of L.t.nycticeboides
2. To study of abundance and distribution of T. v. monticola,
3. To study of abundance and distribution of Macaca sinica opisthomelas
4. To measure botanical composition and three-dimension structure of the each forest patch.
5. To raise awareness among the school children, school teachers, and local people
 
Timescales
Start date: February 2007
Duration: On going
Project members
Saman Gamage : Project leader

Saman is president of both LORRIS and PCSSL in Sri Lanka

[Member role description]
Wasantha Liyanage : Co-investigator

Wasantha is an advisor to the Ministry of Environment and Nature resources of Sri Lanka and treasurer of LORRIS

[Member role description]
Project partners
Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, University of Colombo
University of Ruhuna
Department of Wild Life Conservation, Sri Lanka
Forest Department of Sri Lanka
Land Owners’ Restore Rainforests in Sri Lanka (LORRIS)
Primate Conservation Society of Sri Lanka (PCSSL)
Nature Exploration and Protection Society of Sri Lanka
Department of Education in Sri Lanka
 
Donors
Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)
Conservation Leadership Programme funded by BP
Mongo terrain
 
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