The red slender loris (Loris tardigradus) is endemic to Sri Lanka. Its relative, the grey slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus) also occurs in India.
Slender lorises are so-named because of their long, slender arms and legs.
Their faces are dominated by huge round eyes which give them excellent night vision and enable them to hunt for insects during the night.
This species is among the most social of the nocturnal primates.
The tears of the slender loris have reportedly been used in traditional charms and love potions.
Populations 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 several 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 some reports of slender lorises being electrocuted on power lines, or killed while crossing roads.
EDGE aims to help secure the future of the endangered Sri Lankan slender loris by determining its population status and distribution so that important areas of habitat can be identified and protected.
The red slender loris, Loris tardigradus, is a nocturnal primate species endemic to Sri Lanka. Classified as Endangered by the IUCN, it is declining because its forest habitat is being destroyed for logging, agriculture and development. As the forest patches become increasingly fragmented, isolated populations become stranded and cannot move far to escape threats, find food or meet potential mates.
EDGE researchers hope to collaborate with Sri Lankan conservation organisations and loris experts to develop a management strategy for the red slender loris. Detailed research will be carried out into the abundance, distribution, and threats facing the species so that an appropriate long-term conservation programme can be established. The programme will focus on habitat restoration, protection and the creation of wildlife corridors in key areas identified during the initial research period.
The Zoological Society of London is incorporated by Royal Charter - Registered Charity in England and Wales no. 208728. Principal Office England - Company Number RC000749 - Registered address Regent's Park, London, England NW1 4RY