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296. Bengal Slow Loris

Nycticebus bengalensis


The Bengal slow loris was only recently recognised as a distinct species having been previously classed as a sub species of Nycticebus coucang.

The genus Nycticebus is one of the least studied Asian primates.  The Bengal slow loris is the largest of the slow loris species, with considerable variation of size, and coat colour.  This nocturnal and arboreal (tree dwelling) species has a round head, small ears and large round forward facing eyes, which reflect the light, a vestigial tail and specially adapted hands and feet for climbing. The Bengal slow loris produces toxic substance from glands on the inside of its elbows which is secreted with sweat, this substance when licked off the gland becomes activated by saliva and can be transferred in the slow loris’s bite in defence.

The Bengal slow loris is protected in India, Thailand, China, Viet Nam and Cambodia and is found in protected areas across its range and is listed on Appendix I of CITES from 2007 – making international trade illegal. There are no species specific conservation actions in these areas.

Despite being occurring in protected areas the main threats to this species are habitat destruction by farming and illegal logging activities, additionally the Bengal slow loris is in high demand  for food, traditional medicine, sport and pets trade – whilst this is now illegal local trade still occurs on the black market.

Further research is required for this species to get an accurate abundance, threats, population trend and to put in place and action plan.

  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Lorisidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 26-38cm
  • Weight: 2kg

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 4.33 (?)
ED Score: 17.92 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This species occurs in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, north-eastern India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam (except the south). It may possibly occur as well in northern Peninsular Malaysia.

Habitat and Ecology

This arboreal and nocturnal species lives in tropical and sub-tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen rainforests, preferring areas with dense canopy cover, as well as forest edges, where insect prey appear to be more abundant. This species is mainly frugivorous (fruit eating) but also feeds on insects, gum, and small reptiles. The Bengal slow loris live in small family groups.

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Download the Survival Blueprint for this species below. Each survival blueprint is compiled by an EDGE Fellow working on the species with input from collaborators and stakeholders. The Survival Blueprint provides a status review (information on the distribution, protection status, habitat & ecology, threat and stakeholder analysis) and more information on the action programme listed here.  

Vision (30-50 years)

Healthy and viable population of Bengal Slow Loris throughout its known range with a permeable landscape for free movement of Slow Loris, and connected protected areas supported through community-centric livelihood activities.

Goal (5-10 years)

Secure the existing Slow Loris habitat through expansion of the protected area network, and improve habitat connectivity by integrating local community livelihood goals with Slow Loris conservation efforts.


Assess the distribution of Bengal Slow Loris in northeast India Critical
Understand the ecology (movement, diet, breeding) of Slow Loris in a human-dominated landscape Critical
Quantify the drivers and prevalence of exploitation of Slow Loris for ethnozoological practices as well as for other practices Critical
Assess other threats to the species Critical
Expand the protected area network in the region Critical
Assess the permeability of the north-eastern landscape for Slow Loris movement High
Promote wildlife-centric livelihood activities (e.g., beekeeping, ecotourism, agroforestry) High
Facilitate the training of forest and veterinarian officials on rescue, rehabilitation, and release of Slow Loris High
Outreach and educate key stakeholders on Slow Loris conservation High

Adrian Lyngdoh

  • Project name: Status and conservation of Bengal Slow Loris in community forests in Ri Bhoi district, Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India
  • Project site: Khasi Hills, Meghalaya
  • Active: 2019 - ongoing
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