Slender Loris

Scientific Name: Loris tardigradus

Commonly found in the tropical scrub and deciduous forests as well as the dense hedgerow plantations bordering farmlands of Southern India and Sri Lanka, the Slender Loris is a small, nocturnal primate. It prefers to inhabit thick, thorny bushes and bamboo clumps where it can evade predators and also find insects, which is the main diet.

These animals are about 25 cm long and have long, thin arms. They weigh around 275 grams. They have a small, vestigial tail. Their most prominent feature is the pair of two large, closely set, brown eyes. Being arboreal, they spend most of their life on the trees. Though their movements are slow, they can climb up fast to the tree top when threatened. They either hunt on their own or in pairs. They are known to be very social at dusk and dawn, interacting with others of their own.

Their mating season is twice a year, from April to May as well as October to November. Gestation is 166-169 days. The females give birth to normally one and rarely two infants at one time. The mother carries the infants constantly during the first few weeks after birth. They live between 12-15 years.

Apart from insects they are also known to eat leaves, flowers, slugs and sometimes eggs of birds. Among the strange habits they have is the urine washing of their face and limbs, which is thought to soothe or defend against the sting of the toxic insects they prefer to eat.

These animals face a threat from poachers due to the misplaced belief that these animals have magical and medicinal powers. This hunting, along with destruction of their habitat, is their major threat. There are no confirmed numbers on how many slender lorises survive in the wild. They are one of the least studied of all primates in India.

IUCN has listed them as Endangered, whereas they are listed under the Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972, according them the highest level of legal protection. WWF-India is working to protect the habitats of the Slender Loris through its wider conservation work in the Western Ghats - Nilgiris Landscape.

Sources:
  1. Elisabeth Benders-Hyde 2002
    http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/slender_loris.htm
  2. Sindhu Radhakrishna & Mewa Singh, Social Behaviour of the Slender Loris (Loris tardigradus lydekkerianus) www.nias.res.in/docs/sr2.pdf
  3. Mr. B.V.Gundappa, ‘Friends of Loris’, Nagavalli village, Tumkur District, Karnataka
 / ©: T.V. N. Murthy / WANC
The most prominent feature of Slender Loris is the pair of big round eyes
© T.V. N. Murthy / WANC
 / ©: Ameen Ahmed/WWF-India
Slender Loris is arboreal and spends most of its life on trees
© Ameen Ahmed/WWF-India
 / ©: Ameen Ahmed/WWF-India
WWF-India's support also benefits lesser-known species like Slender Loris
© Ameen Ahmed/WWF-India