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News from the field: Slender loris surveys underway

By on May 1, 2008 in Uncategorized, EDGE Updates, EDGE Fellows, Focal species, Slender loris

One of our EDGE Fellows, Vijitha Perera, started fieldwork in March on the red slender loris (Loris tardigradus) in the Knuckles Range, Sri Lanka. Vijitha sent us the following information and photos to let us know how his fieldwork is progressing.

The activities of the period can be summarized as follows:

Reconnaissance survey of area – so far we have covered 12 villages (heavily and moderately human disturbed area), forest areas with minimum human disturbance and moderate disturbance, and areas with abandoned cardamom and tea plantation areas.

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Further, we have collected information from 27 villagers. It is interesting to see that more than 90% of these villagers haven’t seen a loris in their life time (at least they don’t know what it looks like). However, they have heard about the loris and their beliefs are not favourable for loris conservation e.g. some villagers believe calls of loris will bring bad luck for them.

Now we are preparing a systematic survey questionire to analyse the sensitivity of loris to human presence, beliefs of villagers about loris, and recent distribution changes of loris with new human settlements and farming.

We are planning to conduct an awareness program of loris for the villagers and school children in parallel with the research activities. We have seen that to raise awareness of local people is very important for conservation of this species. Further, we wish to produce leaflets regarding loris. Most rural school children here learn with financial problems. Therefore, awareness programs with simple gifts like wildlife books, and conducting of prize giving programs such as conservation related drawing competitions and essays on wildlife topics may encourage them vastly with conservation issues.

It seems that the survey of loris on Knuckles range is not easy as we expected. It is mostly due to poor road net work, regular rains, and extensively distributed blood sucking leaches. However, we can manage them.

Vijitha carrys out transect survey’s for lorises along certain routes, for example along an existing road.

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With a torch Vijitha searches for lorises along the transect.

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Any lorises can be seen because their large eyes glow red in the light of the torch.

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To support Vijitha’s work to research and raise awareness of the slender loris in order to conserve this unique species, please click here.